Reviews – Gigs

Wheatus – Gig Review

Friday 6th May 2016
The Cookie, Leicester

Last night saw over 300 Wheatus fans packed in to one of my favourite local music venues in Leicester, The Cookie.  Heading out on a 26-date tour, before joining Busted as the support act for their upcoming tour in June, the evening saw Wheatus playing a sold out show on their first night.  Tickets sold out within a matter of minutes, and crowds were hyped to be seeing their pop-rock favourites and taking a step back in time to their youth.

At least that’s exactly what the night was all about for me and my friends.  Me and my best friend in particular saw the evening as staple in our history, after she introduced me to the band nearly 16 years ago.  Having copied the band’s first self-titled album on to cassette for me, it was all we listened to on the walk to school for months, and now all these years later we were finally getting to see Wheatus perform live.

With the venue packed full to the brim, and temperatures above tropical, the band came out and performed an intimate session, asking crowds what they wanted to be played. ‘Truffles’ opened up the evening, followed by a number of tracks from the first album, including fan favourites ‘Leory’, ‘Wanna Be Gangster’, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘A Little Respect’ to name a few.  We were also treated to a couple of new tracks from upcoming studio album number 7 (yes, Wheatus have recorded more than just ‘that’ song!).

There were a couple of surprises during the night, starting with the band’s cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’.  For anyone who didn’t have a good view of the stage might have assumed that Taylor had just walked on and performed it herself.  However, it was in fact front man Brendan singing the whole song perfectly down each exact note.  If anyone managed to capture it on video, get in touch and I’ll include it here. Seeing really is believing.

For anyone who is familiar with the bands more recent material will know the track ‘Only You’.  This is where Leicester nearly lost their minds, as Josh Devine and Sandy Beales joined Wheatus on stage to perform the track.  Both Josh and Sandy collaborated with the band on the track, but are also famously known as being the Drummer (Josh) and Bass Guitarist (Sandy) for One Direction.

The evening was of course played out with ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, and all the crowds sang along in unison hitting the high notes.  Whether fans came to the gig only knowing the one track, or to relive a little bit of their musical youth, fans surely left with a feeling of renewed enthusiasm, and I can’t imagine anyone spinning anything else for the next few days.

Wheatus Tour Poster

Connect with Wheatus on thier WebsiteTwitter and Facebook.

Bullet For My Valentine – Gig Review

Friday 16th October 2015
O2 Academy, Leicester

Following the release of their 5th studio album ‘Venom’, which has completely stormed the charts around the world; and during the month when ‘The Poison’ turns 10 years old, Welsh rockers Bullet For My Valentine head out on their UK tour and make a stop in Leicester along the way.

With it being nearly 2 years since their ‘Rule Britannia Tour’, and the first with new bassist Jamie Mathias (formally of ‘Revoker’), fans completely sold out the venue, as they were eager to live this pivotal moment with the band. On this very day we were also treated to the official release of the music video for their next hit ‘Venom’. Excitement and adrenaline was certainly running high through the crowds as they waited patiently to get their tickets scanned.

Support for the tour wasn’t announced until long after tickets had sold out, but when Coldrain and While She Sleeps were added to the bill, minds simply could not apprehend how magnificent this was going to be – so much metal in one room! While She Sleeps will also be joining the guys on their ‘British Invasion Tour’ of North America, and these guys really know how to tear it up, so America; prepare yourselves.

The evening was filled with material from the new album; which saw Matt Tuck opening up and bellowing straight in to ‘No Way Out’, and continuing to give a flavorsome selection of tracks such as ‘You Want a Battle (Here’s a War)’, ‘Venom’, and ‘Army of Noise’. When it was announced that the guys were back in the studio putting together their next album, Matt Tuck unveiled that it would be their heaviest album yet and that they were back working with Colin Richardson who produced their first 2 albums ‘The Poison’ and ‘Scream Aim Fire’. Clearly a good decision as ‘Venom’ has since had chart domination, and given something back to the fans to which they can relate. Since the release of ‘Temper Temper’, which could be argued as not the strongest album for the band, this has taken us back to those sounds and elements that the fans treasure; but this time with added riffage.

Thanking the fans for their support over the years, the set list was laced with those classic crowd pleasers such as ‘4 Words (To Choke Upon), ‘Scream Aim Fire’, and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’. Following the first 10 tracks and heading towards the encore, Lead Guitarist, Michael Paget gave the crowd a skin crawling, hair rising guitar solo. It was a pleasure to hear that signature sound coming from Michael’s guitar and hearing it in all its glory. You appreciate it even more when it’s laid bare, and the whole room came to a stand still in admiration.

Set List:

No Way Out
4 Words (To Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
Raising Hell
Scream Aim Fire
The Poison
The Last Fight
Venom
Alone
Worthless
– Guitar Solo –
Army of Noise
Tears Don’t Fall
Hand of Blood
Your Betrayal
Waking the Demon

Blue – Gig Review

Monday 13th April 2015
De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Blue originally formed in 2000 and have since gone on to release 5 studio albums, had over 20 UK singles, embarked on 6 headline tours, represented Britain at the Eurovision Song Contest, muscled in on the first series of the ITV reality show; which also followed sold out arena tours of ‘The Big Reunion’, and even starred in their own television series of ‘Blue Go Mad In Ibiza’.

And here we are in 2015 where the boys have headed out on their 16-date ‘Colours of Blue’ tour performing tracks from their new album ‘Colours’ at venues around the UK, with their final stop being at Leicester, De Montfort Hall.

It was apparent from the outset that the audience were out for some boyband action. It was a chance to reminisce and relive the early days of the noughties all over again – those days when you had to divvy up your paper round money between sweets and the latest Smash Hits magazine for the pull-out posters; those days when CDs were still so new and expensive that you had to settle for the cassette; and those days when you actually got up on a Saturday morning because CD:UK would be on.

Throughout the evening the boys performed 9 out of the 10 tracks from their latest album. Lee gave us some background to the new album during their live set saying that although it contains a mixture of new songs and covers, the original idea was to have an album complete with covers. However, following some exciting recording sessions, 6 new tracks were born and it made sense to include these on the album too.

This had to be a sound decision for the album and for the band, not only because a covers album can be a bit touch and go, but also because the new material was refreshing. It was great to hear Blue coming through with a sound that was inspired by their childhood inspirations, and be part of the journey that their talents, continued aspirations and heartfelt lyrics took us on. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how long ago 15 years was as for some of us it almost seems like yesterday, but times change and people grow, and that’s exactly what Blue have done; they’ve continued to roll with the motions of the musical wave but their sound continues to mature and develop.

Of course there were also those classic Blue hits performed during the evening to whet the appetite of those hungry for a well-known chart hit. However, the boys brought a band on tour with them, which was a game changer for the whole evening, especially with the extremely talented saxophone player. The set up, style and sound worked perfectly with their new hits and the covers, but they also took the opportunity to strip back their classic hits and give them a funkier, soul and jazzy-pop sound to them. They also donned the suits, microphone stands, and dance routines, all tied up in a neat boyband bundle to boot.

Blue are back where they belong, and it’s clear they have a strong friendship, energy and passion to continue doing what they love. For a band who were dominant chart-toppers, who then faced a number of setbacks as the years pressed on, they have determination to show that natural endowment is what music is all about, and as long as the fans continue to show support there is still much more left to give.

Paramore – Gig Review

Friday 27th September 2013
Capital Arena, Nottingham

Following the release of their 4th studio album, Paramore head out on tour and stop off at the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham for some fun. Their self-titled album is quite possibly their most varied yet, and gives us a taste of a band that has strengthened over the years and packs a more mature sound. It’s been almost a decade since the band formed, so it was anticipating waiting to see what was in store.

Hayley took to the stage and the night was opened with “Grow Up” and “Fast In My Car” both tracks from the new album. The night was filled with a mixture of tracks from the new album, and the classics punched out in between. Hayley also performed Decode, which was released as a soundtrack to the Twilight film.

We were treated to a couple of interludes, such as “I’m Not Angry Anymore” and they played homage to Fleetwood Mac performing in London the same night with “Landslide”.

There’s many a review that will boast about how much more amazing it is seeing a band live, and that really is the case with Paramore. Hayley is extremely talented and she has a belter of a voice; it really doesn’t compare to listening to the CDs at home.

It was an energetic evening, and brilliant to be part of such a loyal audience, who took in every single moment with the band and sang along to every line so perfectly. The set came to a close with Misery Business, and Hayley even pulled a lucky fan up on to the stage to join her on the mic.

Set List:

Grow Up
Fast In My Car
That’s What You Get
Decode
Ignorance
Now
Daydreaming
When It Rains
Last Hope
Brick By Boring Brick
Crushcrushcrush
Ain’t It Fun
The Only Exception
Pressure
Misery Business
Still In To You

 

The Answer – Gig Review

Monday 12th March 2012
Rock City, Nottingham

Back in October 2011, I was fortunate enough to catch The Answer at the O2 Academy Leicester, at what I would describe as a more intimate gig. I say intimate because the place wasn’t even half full, but The Answer rocked hard and really engaged with the audience, which went as far as bringing the whole room to their knees (literally).

Since forming in 2000, the Irish rockers have toured with the likes of Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Paul Rodgers, and more recently AC/DC on their Black Ice World Tour, which has since then gained them a much larger following. In October 2011 they also released their third studio album ‘Revival’, and ‘Nowhere Freeway’ featuring Lynne Jackaman is their latest single to be released from it. This has also gained them much more airplay on stations such as Planet Rock. Recently the band have also been nominated the best new band of the year at the Classic Rock Awards, so tonight I really couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us.

First support of the night comes from Skam, and second supports are The Union, who were formed by Luke Morley (Thunder) and Peter Shoulder (Winterville). These guys really fired up the night and set the atmosphere for what was to come.

As well as the Leicester O2 Academy I was also fortunate enough to catch the guys whilst they were supporting AC/DC and each time I was highly impressed by the way they opened their sets, I was hoping this time it would be no different. The lights dimmed, Paul Mahon, Micky Waters and James Heatley rushed on stage, warmed up their instruments and then Cormac energetically bounced on to the stage, grabbed his microphone and introduced the band: “We are The Answer, and we can make you feel good!” before the group ripped into the first song, New Day Rising.

Cormac then followed the norm I’m used to, how they had opened each gig I’d seen before, delivering their mission statement to the crowd, “Our business with you tonight is rock and roll! Are you ready to rock and roll!?” With a cheer from the crowd the band began their second track of the night, Under the Sky.

Cormac truly knows how to control the crowd as he proved at the O2 Academy, and tonight he showed just as much promise. Before the third song he asked them if they were ready to sing, joking “Is it too early?” and warmed them up for their part in the next song, Vida (I Want You). This track entices the audience to feel part of the bands set and to join in, along with Come Follow Me when it was played later in the set. The crowd, enjoying every minute comply with a nod of their head, a beer in one hand and their rock fist in the other.

The Answer are a band that found their feet a long time ago, and I’m surprised they haven’t gone further already. They’re a band that really gives it all they’ve got and certainly know how to put on a live show. With so much more to give I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months have in store for the band, and hoping they’ll be lined up for a festival in the not too distant future.

 

Slaves To Gravity – Gig Review

Sunday 17th July 2011
O2 Academy, Sheffield

Set List:

Good Advice
Honesty
She’s Got Big Plans
Misery Pills
Mr. Regulator
Lily Liver
Heaven Is A Lie

On Sunday 17th July we took a bumpy ride through Sheffield to the 02 Academy to check out Slaves To Gravity who were supporting Papa Roach on the final two dates of their tour.

Hailing from London and having previously supported acts such as Lacuna Coil, Buckcherry, Alter Bridge, and played Download and Sonisphere festivals, I was looking forward to an evening of good honest grunge rock music.

The night was sold out and the crowds were clearly psyched up for Papa Roach, and with Slaves To Gravity opening up the night I assumed that would be a hard slot to fill. How wrong could I have been, they tore open the stage and certainly showed Sheffield what they’re all about.

A lot of the tracks came from their latest album ‘Underwaterouterspace’ but we were graced with a couple of tracks (Mr. Regulator and Heaven Is A Lie) from their first album ‘Scatter Crow’.

Crowds cheered, raised their arms, drank a beer or two and generally rocked out. I’ve always said that there has to be something great about a band that can win over a sold out show, and even though it’s been a while since the guys have headlined their own show, they certainly weren’t lacking in energy and gave it everything they had got.

It’s easy to see why the band won the award for the Kerrang! Best British Newcomer in 2008, and I hope that 2011 has big things in store for them.

 

Alice Gold – Gig Review

Wednesday 8th June 2011
The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Hailing from London, Alice is a singer-songwriter and completed her debut album ‘Seven Rainbows’ in just 22 days. Influenced by Pixies, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, Alice is quoted on her website saying “I definitely write pop songs,” Alice says, “But I‘m inspired just as much by leftfield stuff, rock and roll and psychedelia.”

“Basically, I love Janis Joplin but I‘ve got a crush on Alicia Keys!”

It was easy to see just how much enjoyment Alice Gold gets out of performing, and it was almost as though she was captured and engulfed by her own music. So much so that during each track it seemed as though she was set in a zone, and only coming back out of it to head in to the next song. She is possibly one of the most distinctive artists that I have listened to for a while, and coming home and listening again to her music has left me wanting more.

We were treated to a 30-minute set with 8 songs:

Seasons
Runaway
And I’ll Be There
Conversations
Cry
Sadness
End Of The World
Orbiter

Alice is as much about the music as she is about the performance, and she left her audience spellbound, with the 30 minutes flying by. Her vocal approach and style breaks all the “norms”, refreshing to hear, and incredible to watch.