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
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!
Published on Studentcom 4#
On the last leg of their sold out tour synth pop band CHVRCHES make an arrival to the packed out venue HMV Institute in Birmingham. In turn making the night one to remember with flashing illuminations so bright Las Vegas would be jealous….
Published on Studentcom #3
In Birmingham’s O2 Academy on the 12th of February, The 1975 performed their biggest show outside of London. The 1975 have come along way from being just four teenagers playing in punk bands in Macclesfield…..
On their last London date of they’re sold out tour The 1975 have come along way from being just four teenagers playing in punk bands in Macclesfield. They themselves were virtually unknown for 10 years; until their smash hit Chocolate hit the airwaves soon followed by a number one album. Currently on the biggest tour of their lives the lads had to give the dedicated fans what they were asking for.
The show kicks off with the first of the warm up arts Wild Cub from Nashville. These lads were eager to please the crowd on their first ever show in London. Their sound was similar to those of Phoenix and with a small mix of The Naked and Famous; very euphoric sounding. They managed to get the crowd moving and clapping to the beat especially during their song Thunder Clatter. Altogether a great warm up act that did exactly what it said on the tin. The second warm up act to hit the stage in the form of Wolf Alice who weren’t as skilled at getting the crowd moving. This could be to do with the more haunting songs played leaving the crowd slightly more impatient for who they really wanted to see.
The room goes silent as it fills with smoke from what seemed like fifty smoke machines and five recognisable light boxes start to glow. Members come on framed by their light boxes and the soft music begins to build the crowd await front man Matty Healy’s appearance. He appears and the crowd are electric. Dressed head-to-toe in signature black but carrying with him a half empty bottle of red wine. Matty kicks off the show with The City which featured on one of their very first EPs also on the debut album. The heavy drumbeat worked the fans up into an immediate frenzy singing the words right back. This followed six other songs mixing between older EP classics such as Milk and Heads.Cars.Bending to the newly heard material such as M.O.N.E.Y and Talk!
An Encounter plays a hauntingly beautiful melody while the bands gather themselves for the next part of the show. Hitting us with 7 songs already where other artists would call it a day The 1975 came back with Settle Down a crowd favourite as the audience were bobbing, swaying and full on dancing to the pop rock beat plus the band themselves getting into the rhythm. Doing their signature moves with Matty taking the lead with headbands, hair flips and attempted acrobatics on George’s drum kit into the next two songs before things start to slow.
Still necking from his bottle of wine and even passing some to George who skilfully takes a swig while managing to play the drums in time the song Me begins. It is a new addition to their set list and is rarely heard, the crowd a in a daze hypnotised by the sounds. These were closely followed my two more memorising performances of Is There Someone Who Can Watch You, Fallingforyou and You tears were defiantly flowing.
HNSCC another lyric less track plays and the light dim even lower. When the lights return lead Matty is nowhere to be seen and the bringing of Menswear is in full swing as though the band aren’t aware of Matty’s disappearing act. After a good minuet of confusion there seems to be a disturbance up on the balcony section. Very few people turn to see what was happening but then the song starts up and Matty’s voice kicks in. Heads snap left and right trying to find him then spot him on the balcony looking down at the crowd below singing Menswear and the crowd singing right back. Security looked a bit more than shell shocked watching Matty weave into the balcony crowd and stop to take a few photos here and there all while singing on good form.
Running back to the stage below a little out of breath their newest single and another crowd favourite Girls was next on the list. As Matty served the crowd he noted that most in the audience were girls and that “we wrote a song about you” queue the screaming girls.
They finished with their most popular and well-known songs that put them on the map and made everyone stand up and take notice. The crowd scream the lyrics back and Matty comes down to crowd level touching hands and causing hysteria. The last song of the night was Sex the most rock influenced of their songs, heavily driven by electric guitar courtesy of Adam. To end with a bang the climax of the song was received with more smoke effect and the clear white lights throughout the show now become red. The band become more and more lively and animated with the crowds following suit giving it all they got for the last song on the night after playing an monstrous 21 songs in one night.