Indie Pop Rock band JAWS are definitely ones to watch. Hailing from Birmingham the band are clearly influenced by the B-Town scene, touring with other Birmingham based bands such as Peace.
The band are played the Institute in Birmingham on the 7th of March and I was lucky enough to see them at their London show at nightclub Heaven. They started off the show with an interesting entrance, coming onto the stage to ‘In Paris’ by Kanye West and Jay Z, hyping up the already energetic crowd.
The lights go dark and Donut plays; one of the bands first ever songs. The twang of guitars and happy-go-lucky tune is at odds with the self deprecating lyrics. Another classic from their first EP, Surround You has familiar aggressive synth driven beat causing the audience to chant the opening of the song, the chorus falls into dreamy indie at it’s finest with an underlying dance pop theme. From their album they played the single Swim, the start to the song can only be described as the sound of raindrops- if rain with a synth sound. The chilled vocals from Connor Schofield the bands frontman make this a perfect lazy day listen.
Even though the bands debut album has been out for less than a year JAWS let us know they have been hard at work in the studio making new music, so much so that they then continued to play us not one but two new songs.
The first being Bad Company which sounded very unlike a typical JAWS song which confused the crowd momentarily as it was rather slow without their trademark synth sound. The second was Simplicity, very bass driven perfect easy listening music and had the crowd nodding and swaying in time.
To bring the end the night to an end JAWS played Be Slowly their album’s title song. It is even more furiously upbeat and guitar driven than previously heard tracks, with synth sounds taking a backseat for this one. The last song of the night was crowd favorite Gold a mix of hard-hitting guitars and building drumbeats turning the fans into a frenzied mass and almost knocking me down! The boundless energy from the audience and music alike make JAWS a band with an added bite.
One-man band Ed Sheeran hit up the LG Arena in Birmingham three nights in a row from the 18th-20th of October. I was lucky enough to see him on his final Monday night appearance with folk and roll acoustics; turning the crowd into his very own “gospel choir” plus rapping skills even the likes of Jay Z would be impressed by.
The night kicked off with the first of two opening acts Jamie Lawson, relatively unknown Irish singer-song writer. His striped down acoustics and love related lyrics match those of Ed Sheerans even managing to get the crowd to sing along to the chorus of one of his songs ‘Dig A Little Deeper’. As the night went on the highly anticipated Saint Raymond aka Callum Burrows singer-songwriter and his band took center stage. His glittering indie pop rock sound mixed with catchy lyrics won the crowd over, having them sing along in minutes. This might have something to do with the fact Saint Raymond earlier that day came out to greet queuing fans and acoustically sing a few songs. The spanglely guitar sounds and ringing tingling drums in catchy chorus of the song ‘I Want You’ had the crowd thoroughly warmed up, just like a support act should do.
Then Ed Sheeran promptly appears on stage casual as ever opting to walk from side stage and immediately start playing ‘I’m A Mess’. Without any build up or overly compacted entrance Ed Sheeran continues to be his humble self later he explains this is his third and finial night playing the LG Arena and how privileged he felt. Particular highlights of the show were when Ed did an impressive mash up of his hit single ‘Don’t’, Chris Browns ‘Loyal’ and RnB classic ‘No Diggity’, managing to combine his love of RnB music with his own acoustic set. Ed also managed to get the crowd to put an arm in the air and bounce a hand up and down during the chorus of Bloodstream where he explained it’s “like the rappers do” and will “look really cool” which too his credit it did.
A sea of phone lights swarmed the arena during ‘A Team’ (undoubtedly his most famous song). Thus making all 14,000 of us look like little twinkling dots. Ed’s eyes misted over and smile graced his face letting everyone know how much of a special moment it was for him before stating that this was his last song before clarify ‘technically its not my last song, I have two more but pretend it is’ then walked off stage to await an encore.
A stamping of feet and screaming fangirls lead to Ed’s reappearance. Strolling on to center stage with ‘You Need Me I Don’t Need You’ showing off his rapping prowess and the crowd impressively matching him word for word. The night ended with Ed Sheeran’s first number 1 ‘Sing’ where he instructed the crowd “do not stop singing” and to “scream it out”, which they did. The infectious chorus had people singing long after the show ended proving that Ed Sheeran even though seemingly plain on exterior can really put on a spectacular show with just his raw talent.
Young Kato the six member strong band from Cheltenham are back again with new song ‘Sunshine’. Aptly the lads unveiled the song in the July heat with the Sunshine EP up for pre-order with an expected release of the 14th September. The song first offers you the usual Young Kato style synth but with an unexpected brassy saxophone sound that throws you off for just a second. However this is quickly forgotten as singer Tommy Wright’s district and high range vocal takes over lulling you into the song, even throwing in a few happy-go-lucky whistles. The building tempo leading into the fun and energetic chorus is a key feature often found in Young Kato songs, making them feel-good tracks perfect for the summer sun and wind in hair sort of thing. When the chorus hits you cant help but crack a smile, which is followed by an even more enthusiastic endorphin enhancing instrumental, leaving you with an idiotic grin on your face. 8/10
Singer-song writer Lewis Watson finally released his long awaited debut album ‘The Morning’ this July. Following in the footsteps of Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran this acoustic guitar-playing lad displays some real raw talent. Watson has been collecting himself fans from all over the world, thanks to the five EPs he has produced in the space of only just two years. The first track on the album ‘Stones Around The Sun’ takes a different approach to the usual strumming of chords with the use of a spacey synth opening which makes you question where exactly this album is going to take you. ‘Holding On’ is another delightful surprise on the album with a slight backing vocal and an overall more direct melody as sometimes acoustic guitar driven songs can seem like watered down versions of a good songs. The gravely rasp of Lewis’ voice brings some depth to the album along with fan favourites ‘into the wild’ and ‘sink or swim’ being included. However, lyrically, there are only so many ways to express melancholy; listening to a full album of wounded self-pitying can draining to say the least. 7/10
Calling all music lovers! Fancy a festival without the mud, the tents and the down right dubious portaloos? Well the Dot-To-Dot festival is just the thing for all you city slickers who don’t fancy slumming it in the mud but want just as much live music and fun as anyone else headed off this festival season. Dot-to-Dot festival has been voted the UK’s best metropolitan festival and hits Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. And here on my blog we want to bring you up to date on all the top festivals around that country-because we’re nice like that. The Dot-To-Dot festival is set in the heart of these cities with acts dotted (see what they did there) around in various venues all within a reasonable walking distance of each other. So hey no willies required and no hideous bin bag rain mac to cramp your style, just a quick hop skip and a jump to any venue of your choice.
Cheap and Cheerful
Unlike most festivals this one doesn’t cost you the earth *phew*. At just £20! Yeah you heard right-£20! You get to enjoy amazing acts without burning a hole in your pocket. Meaning you can use the money you have spare to travel up to the festival and get a round in for you at your mates when you get there.
Finger on the pulse
Dot-to-Dot festival is known for picking the best future acts in indie, electro and alternative music. With the likes of: The 1975, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding all performing at the unique event. If you wanna stay ahead of the game and impress your friends with your sparkling music knowledge of cool up and coming bands. Or if you just want to discover and try something new and different this is definitely a festival worth checking out. This year the headliner was the aptly named band Peace, their psychedelic rock sounds got the crowds going and is definitely a band you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future. So to be first in line to see brand new and exciting acts Dot-To-Dot is the festival to head to.
The atmosphere throughout the music filled day is a generally relaxed, unless you suffer from a case of the clashes (no that’s not some band). There is always the risk of having one or maybe more of you favourite acts playing at the same time so its up to you to toss a coin, put it to a vote or what I tend to do, run between both sets like a headless chicken in a vain attempt to watch both. I would not recommend this behaviour though as most of the venues at the Dot-To-Dot festival have a limited capacity and fill up fast. You don’t want to be hanging around outside waiting for someone to leave so you can get in. Best to get to acts early and get a good spot.
So in conclusion what have we learnt here? Well, for a start, we now know that festivals don’t have to mean a soggy field in the middle of nowhere. Festivals can happen in a city slickers paradise, located inside all your favourite bars and clubs far out of reach from the unpredictable British weather. We have also learnt that you don’t have to fork out major cash to have fun-£20 will do nicely. And lastly have fun and lets go! Leave those willies at home my friends.
On the 2nd of May at the LG Arena Birmingham self titled super group McBusted performed to a sold out venue full of people from all walks of life. This was surely the most eclectic group of people I had seen at one gig in a long while, from little kids from as you as 7 to middle aged mums to you’re average barely teenager like myself seeking to relive a bit of their childhood. The extended band brought us all together for one last hurrah for Busted with a helping hand from Mcfly.
A weird combination? Think again actually both bands are weirdly intertwined Tom Flectcher lead vocalist from Mcfly was briefly the fourth member of Busted in 2001. But just two days later, the band made the decision to be a trio and gave Tom the boot. As we know not all was lost for Tom as he found his current Mcfly band mates; Dougie Poynter, Harry Judd and Danny Jones. The Mcfly boys also opened for Busted back in 2004 so really their bands have been intertwined long before Mcbusted became a reality. All the original members agreed to take part in the venture apart from Busted front man Charlie Simpson who is focusing on a solo career.
The show gets underway with a short video on screen showing a mock up on the two remaining Busted stars Matt Willis and James Bourn announcing Busted’s split and deciding to go back in time to stop that from happening in turn meaning Mcfly never exist and the four lads careers lose focus (are you still with me??). Long story short going back in time means you need a time machine in the form of the car from Year 3000 undoubtedly Busted’s biggest hit. Matt and James fly on the stage in said car and 2394506 smoke machines causing the crowd to go crazy followed by the Mcfly boys to popping up from the stage.
The show was lively and fee good with an interesting stage setup meaning some lucky fans were positioned literally in the middle of the act called my ‘OMG zone’ and honestly I would be screaming OMG too if Danny repeatedly spat water on me!
All the classic Busted and Mcfly songs were played including ‘Glad I Crashed The Wedding’ featuring Matt Willis in a very fetching wedding dress and Star Girl featuring a massive floating UFO they band performed on. The lads seemed like genuine friends, buddies just enjoying their job and mucking about in the process it was really lovely to see. The few touching moments came from James Bourn’s solo rendition of Sleeping With The Light on which had the whole audience doing the modern day version of putting a lighter in the air aka turning your iphone on torch mode and sway your arms.
The show ended with the song everyone had been waiting for Year 3000 and Im sure making childhood dreams were fufilled that night with laughs and even more laughs from the superest of groups McBusted!