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Live Reviews

Download Pilot Festival 2021

Donington Park

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th June 2021

Download Pilot Festival Poster

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DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL 2021 – LIVE REVIEW

The live music industry is built on togetherness, built on shared experience and built on the power of emotion. The last 18 months have been highly emotional for all the wrong reasons. Together the world has shared an experience that has terrified and devastated us.

The events of the last 18 months have taken an incomprehensible toll on humanity. The pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods. The live music industry was obliterated overnight. The people that make the spectacles that we enjoy happen were forgotten about.

While the world attempts to peek through the curtains at a “new normal”, the live music industry is left waiting. Waiting for support, waiting for proper guidance, waiting for a chance. Well, just four weeks ago that chance arrived.

A Government trial event to test the viability of the return of packed festivals and events you say? Spring into action the incredible people behind the scenes who make the live music industry work! In a short period of time, heaven and earth have been moved and here we are at Download Festival.

A much smaller, makeshift, Pilot version of Download Festival at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. 10,000 people in a field, no social distancing, no masks, no inhibitions.

Credit goes to all involved for creating an event of that scale on such short notice, and to all the acts playing with no preparation. As the gates open, one thing is for sure, the fans want this, no, the fans needs this.

The reality of the situation is that the organisers could have put an old man playing the spoons on stage and the fans would have lapped it up. The opportunity after all that everybody has been through to witness live music is cathartic.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – FRIDAY

The fact that this may be the most exciting Download Festival line-up of all time only helps to amplify the anticipation as fans gather in the tented second stage for Death Blooms. Almost every person on site crams in to witness that first taste of live music in far too long.

The band make the most of the atmosphere with a storming set that sees the audience let go of all remaining inhibitions. I doubt the majority of those in the tent knew of the band in advance, but they certainly left with a memory that will last forever.

For this special event there are just two stages. Next to the tent is the outdoor main stage which opens with a raucous set from Hot Milk. Kicking off with their latest single ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ the band show the crowd just what they’ve been missing.

Listen to ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ from Hot Milk on our Spotify Hot List!

There is no need to worry about those dreaded clashes at Download Pilot Festival. That’s because the acts on the two stages alternate, allowing the music starved fans the opportunity to watch every single band if they so wish to.

Every band this weekend gets a good sized crowd and a warm reception with it, especially the early bands on Friday. Malevolence are next to grace the second stage and assist the audience in releasing their pent up energy with a heavy hitting set.

A repercussion of the pandemic has been the amazing new albums that have been released without the showcase of the live setting. One such album is ‘Glue’ from Boston Manor. That wrong is righted next however as the band storm the main stage and air the likes of ‘Everything Is Ordinary’.

An early standout performance from the band sees them mix new and old with ‘England’s Dreaming’, ‘Laika’ and ‘Halo’ eliciting some of the first full blown sing-a-long moments of the weekend.

Those sing-a-long moments continue with Holding Absence on the second stage as they get to unleash tracks from their sensational album ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’. ‘Afterlife’ in particular is a contender for song of the weekend as the band present their credentials for superstardom!

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

The Friday action continues with two bands with extremely dedicated fanbases. Neck Deep get the main stage bouncing before Sleep Token captivate the second stage.

It is then down to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to bring the first day to a close on the main stage. Always an unstoppable force of nature on stage, the band make the most of the platform to make a statement. That statement says that this band is ready to headline the regular event.

With a setlist spanning their three albums, the band even treat fans to a selection of new tracks including the catchy ‘My Town’. There are guest appearances from Joe Talbot, Cassyette and Lynks, there is a giant circle pit around the sound tower and there is even a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes saw an opportunity to headline a festival, to headline the first festival back, and they grabbed it with both hands. This was one of those sets that will be talked about forevermore!

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

After hours entertainment comes from a silent disco as the hastily arranged festival shows the skills and creativity of the music industry. You have to stand back and admire the achievement of those involved to create an event on this scale in the time given.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SATURDAY

On to Saturday now and the musical delights continue as Lotus Eater, Conjurer, As Everything Unfolds and Bleed From Within blow the cobwebs of the early morning audience.

Next two young bands with big futures introduce themselves to festival audiences. Both The Hara on the second stage and Wargasm on the main stage elicit strong reactions from those watching.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ from Wargasm on our Spotify Hot List!

After a solid showing from Tigercub, one of the veteran acts of the weekend, A, school the up and coming bands on how to engage an audience. An age appropriate walking circle pit being a nice change of pace in the midst of a hectic weekend. Finishing with ‘Nothing’, A show why they are the perfect festival band.

Two things become apparent as the weekend progresses. When dissecting the hastily put together line-up, the quality of British rock music is put in the spotlight and it more than holds its own. Secondly a good deal of that talent is female. Vukovi and Yonaka both deliver set of the weekend contenders next.

Listen to ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka on our Spotify Hot List!

Those Damn Crows, Twin Atlantic and Stone Broken all put in crowd pleasing performances before While She Sleeps attract and entertain a huge crowd on the main stage.

Soon though it’s time for the scorecard for band of the weekend to be thrown out the window. Creeper are able to deliver an out of body experience as they headline the second stage. There are goosebump raising moments galore as the band turn the festival into their own theatre of oral and visual magnificence.

Listen to ‘Midnight’ from Creeper on our Spotify Hot List!

It is then left to Enter Shikari to bring the Saturday night party and they don’t disappoint. If there was ever a band born to get you moving it’s Enter Shikari. They do just that as they also get to showcase newer songs live for the first time.

‘satellites**’, ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ fit in perfectly with classics like ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘Mothership’. Much like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Creeper, you can see the special treatment Enter Shikari have given this opportunity and that makes for a stunning spectacle.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SUNDAY

Come Sunday you’d imagine fatigue would be setting in. All this action after so many barren months, you could forgive the crowd for tiring and the festival atmosphere sapping. Instead energy is pumped in by bands such as Static Dress, Saint Agnes, Cassyette and Employed To Serve.

The fans reciprocate said energy as they continue to let loose to Chubby and the Gang, Loathe and Higher Power. The passion and pure joy of both fans and musicians to be at a festival is at times overwhelming. This event was destined to be an emotive affair but even through that emotion the quality of the music on offer shines.

Next on the main stage is Lonely The Brave complete with change in singer. A set mixed with fan favourites and new tracks from ‘The Hope List’ shows the band are still an exciting prospect. Can the band now finally take that next step? On their showing here, yes they can!

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’ from Lonely The Brave

For those fans catching every band the pace is relentless and it’s to the second stage next for Jamie Lenman. Lenman powers through a sublime set that gets the crowd moving and features another appearance from Wargasm.

The quirky goodness of Elvana attracts a huge crowd to the main stage as the festival heads towards its climax. The band show just why they are perhaps the perfect Sunday afternoon festival act as they get the crowd singing along to every word.

Massive Wagons are able to take the second stage by storm before a sadly technically challenged The Wildhearts limp off stage. The Wildhearts are a top quality band and the issues with their sound perhaps show the effects of an enforced hiatus for musicians and crew members alike.

It’s on that note that once again praise must be heaped on the organisers, the crew members, the festival staff and yes the bands for making this event such a success. That is only amplified by the incredibly short timescale.

Realistically this has been a once in a lifetime event (we hope). Download Pilot Festival as an event is excellent and would be a great addition to the main Download Festival. It’s the atmosphere and camaraderie however that makes this festival so special.

We are down then to the final four bands, the final acts before reality is set to strike again. Up first on the second stage are Trash Boat who get the tent bouncing, especially with a stunning cover of Linkin Park classic ‘Given Up’.

If there is a perfect festival band it’s Skindred. Put them on any stage in any slot and they will attract a huge crowd. With a sub-headline slot on the main stage, the field is full as Benji Webbe and co put in a seamless lesson in crowd engagement.

The final act on the second stage is also no stranger to the festival scene. Although Frank Turner has played Download Festival in the past, even he acknowledges he may not be the typical Download act. Nobody cares though, as he puts in a typically euphoric performance.

The crowd are not just treated to the set staples but also to new song ‘The Gathering’ and heavier version of ‘Little Changes’. There are sing-a-longs aplenty as Turner does what he does best and that is entertain!

Check out The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Frank Turner!

That just leaves Bullet For My Valentine to close out Download Pilot Festival. A festival which we wish was never needed but are so glad that it happened. Bullet For My Valentine are long time Download favourites and they deliver an apt conclusion to the event.

We are treated to a unique take on ‘Run To The Hills’ from Iron Maiden complete with a perplexing vocal contribution fron Benji Webbe. We get new material in the form of ‘Knives’ and of course we get favourites such as ‘Scream Aim Fire’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.

‘Waking The Demon’ is the final song to ring around Donington Park, and we can only hope and pray that this event can wake the demon that is the festival scene. The fans may have been lab rats, but what a stunning lab it was! Thank you Download Pilot Festival for such a cathartic weekend.

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Read our review of ‘Bodies’ from AFI

Categories
News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

Full Pelt Music News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. To stay up to date with the biggest news be sure to follow us on our social channels:

Lost Evenings to return to Camden Roundhouse

Lost Evenings News Report

We start our News Report this week with our sole Festival entry. Frank Turner has announced that his festival, Lost Evenings, will return home to the Roundhouse in Camden.

Featuring multiple stages and various other activities the four day event will feature four unique sets from the man himself. Joining Turner on the main stage will be Grace Petrie, Emily Barker, Jamie Lenman, Pet Needs, Nova Twins, Lottery Winners, Skinny Lister and Guise!

For more information, head over here.

We recently launched The Full Pelt Music Podcast, and our first guest was Frank Turner! Watch and Listen here.

Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’ from Pet Needs

The Darkness return with new album and tour

The Darkness News Report

We have a few tours to tell you about in this weeks News Report including this huge one from The Darkness. The band have unveiled a massive run of dates for later this year. Support for the tour comes from Iron Maiden leader Steve Harris and his band British Lion.

Tickets will be available here.

That’s not the only news from Lowestoft’s finest however, as the band also announced a brand new album will arrive on October 15th. You can pre-order ‘Motorheart’ here.

Read our review of ‘Blue Weekend’ from Wolf Alice

Biffy Clyro announce huge Cardiff show

Biffy Clyro News Report

Biffy Clyro have announced that they will be heading to Cardiff Bay on September 16th. They will be joined by very special guests Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes at what promises to be a huge show.

Tickets will be available from here.

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

Blackberry Smoke to return to Europe in 2022

Blackberry Smoke News Report

Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke will be returning to Europe in early 2022. The run of dates will conclude in the UK with shows in Birmingham, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin, Manchester and finally London.

Tickets are available here.

Read our review of ‘The Ides of March’ from Myles Kennedy

Vukovi set for UK Tour

Vukovi have announced a massive tour around the UK set for this October. The tour is set to be a highlight of the touring season as the band will be joined by both Press To MECO and Delaire The Liar!

You can grab tickets here.

Listen to ‘Another Day’ from Press To MECO on our Spotify Hot List!

Black Spiders reveal short run of dates

The reformed Black Spiders have announced a handful of dates around their appearance at Steelhouse Festival. The band will grace stages in Chester, Leeds, Southampton and Milton Keynes.

Tickets are available here.

Volbeat return with two new songs

Volbeat – ‘Wait A Minute My Girl’

Volbeat kick off our new music section of our News Report. The band have released not one but two new songs this week. ‘Wait A Minute My Girl’ and ‘Dagen Før’ arrive ahead of the bands latest album.

Your listening options are here.

Read our review of ‘Nowhere Generation’ from Rise Against

Creeper announce new EP and single ‘Midnight’

Creeper – ‘Midnight’

Creeper conclude our News Report this week. The band returned to their old ways with a number of cryptic posts before announcing their latest EP, ‘American Noir’.

The EP will arrive on July 30th and you can listen to the single, ‘Midnight’ on our Spotify Hot List. Pre-orders are available now from here.

Read our review of ‘Salem II’ from Salem

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Categories
News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past !

Full Pelt Music News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. To stay up to date with the biggest news be sure to follow us on our social channels:

Huge lineup revealed for Live At Leeds!

Live At Leeds News Report

We start our News Report this week with some festival news. Up first is this huge lineup revealed by Live At Leeds.

The event will feature Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sports Team, The Big Moon, Dream Wife, The Orielles, Vistas, Feet, Life and many more.

It all goes down on Saturday 16th October and tickets are here.

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

Download Festival to act as pilot event

It has been announced that Download Festival will take place this year after all. That’s right rockers will grace the hallowed grounds of Donington Park, but just the 10,000 of them. The pilot event will test the viability of music festivals this summer – not much riding on it then!!

Attendees will be able to mosh freely inside the event, but will need to take negative tests prior to and after the festival. Tickets will be available here.

Headline acts for the event will be Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet For My Valentine. They will be joined by the likes of Boston Manor, Holding Absence, Hot Milk, Creeper, Stone Broken, Twin Atlantic, Yonaka, A, Wargasm, Frank Turner, Skindred, The Wildhearts, Massive Wagons and Lonely The Brave!

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

Latitude Festival unveils line-up

Following a lengthy delay in announcing their line-up, Latitude Festival is finally on track to go ahead. This week organisers revealed the festival will be headlined by the likes of Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Rudimental and Bill Bailey.

Also on tap are acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, Fontaines D.C., Dream Wife, Shame, Squid, Willie J Healey and Tim Burgess. There will also be lots more from the worlds of comedy, arts and literature.

Tickets are available here.

Burn It Down add extra day

Burn It Down News Report

Devon event Burn It Down has announced an additional day. The festival will take place on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th September in Torquay.

The fantastic line-up includes Dinosaur Pile-Up, Jamie Lenman, Hacktivist, Nova Twins, Wargasm, Vukovi, Bob Vylan and many more.

You can grab tickets here.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ from Wargasm on our Spotify Hot List!

Nottingham Arboretum to host summer shows

Arboretum Sunsets News Report

Arboretum Sunsets is set to grace Nottingham Arboretum this summer. Last year our Gig of the Year saw Frank Turner grace the Arboretum and this year will see live music return to the park.

The line-up of shows includes Beans On Toast, Ferocious Dog, Grace Petrie, Lucy Spraggan, The Futureheads, Turin Breaks and many more.

Tickets are here.

Check out Episode 1 of The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Frank Turner

Bowling For Soup add more dates

Bowling For Soup News Report

A little tour news now as we continue our News Report. Bowling For Soup have added some extra shows to their tour with Lit and The Dollyrots. The seaside tour will now head inland to Glasgow, Birmingham and London.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of ‘Van Weezer’ from Weezer

Levellers grow their ‘Levelling The Land’ Tour

Levellers have also added additional dates to their tour. The band will be celebrating 30 Years of ‘Levelling The Land’ later this year.

You can pick up tickets here.

Kasabian announce return with intimate tour

Kasabian have announced their return to action with an intimate tour of the UK. The lengthy run will finish up at Brixton Academy in November. Tickets will be available here.

The Virginmarys set for the road

The Virginmarys will be hitting the road later this year for their first shows since confirming their intentions to continue as a two-piece going forward.

Pick up your tickets here.

Black Honey share new video for ‘Fire’

Black Honey – ‘Fire’

New music now in our News Report. This week saw Black Honey unveil their latest video for ‘Fire’.

More from the band here.

Read our review of ‘Written & Directed’ from Black Honey

Creeper debut new track ahead of EP release

Creeper – ‘Midnight’

After some typical Creeper teasing the band has this week released a new single, ‘Midnight’. More than that though, the band has also announced a brand new EP! ‘American Noir’ will arrive July 30th and you can pre-order your copy here.

Read our review of ‘Salem ii’ from Salem

Vistas release new single ‘Dayglow’

Vistas – ‘Dayglow’

Vistas released their latest single this week in the shape of ‘Dayglow’. More from the band here.

Will Varley unveils ‘The Hole Around My Head’

Will Varley – ‘The Hole Around My Head’

Finally this week, news from Will Varley. He has unveiled his latest single, ‘The Hole Around My Head’. More here.

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Read our review of ‘Eye To Eye’ from The Datsuns

Categories
News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

Full Pelt Music News Report Weekly Roundup

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. To stay up to date with the biggest news be sure to follow us on our social channels:

Reading & Leeds Festivals add 90 more bands and reveal stage splits

Reading & Leeds Festivals Lineups News Report

The August bank holiday weekend tradition that is Reading & Leeds Festivals just got a whole lot bigger. We start the News Report this week with news that the events have announced a further 90+ acts.

This year the events will feature two massive main stages and now the organisers have revealed the stage splits for each day. As has become the norm in recent years you can expect a pretty eclectic bill across the weekend with something for everyone.

Here are our picks for each day:

Friday will feature sets from main stage headliners Stormzy and Catfish and the Bottlemen plus Declan McKenna, Nothing But Thieves, Sam Fender, Sports Team, Demob Happy, Gallows, Boston Manor, Yonaka, Nova Twins and Wargasm.

Saturday will see performances from main stage headliners Post Malone and Disclosure plus The Wombats, Slowthai, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, Fever 333, Creeper, Ho99o9, Cleopatrick and Bob Vylan.

Finally, closing out the Sunday will be main stage headliners Liam Gallagher and Queens of the Stone Age plus Wolf Alice, The Hunna, The Struts, Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly, Gerry Cinnamon, Neck Deep and Hot Milk.

Tickets for the festivals flew out when the Government announced their roadmap, but you can check the events websites for more information:

Reading Festival / Leeds Festival

Read our review of ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ from The Offspring

Royal Blood announce huge 2022 UK Tour

Royal Blood Tour Poster News Report

Royal Blood will be taking over eight of the UK’s largest venues for a huge UK Tour in 2022. The huge dates, which include a stop at The O2 in London, go on sale Friday 7th May here.

However, those that pre-order their new album ‘Typhoons’ from here, will get pre-sale access from Wednesday 5th May!

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

Status Quo are once again hitting the road!

Status Quo Tour Poster News Report

The iconic Status Quo are once again hitting the road in 2022. The group will play 14 shows with special guests Flawes. To grab your tickets you’ll want to head over here.

Mason Hill reveal additional dates for their UK Tour

Mason Hill Tour Poster News Report

Mason Hill have added additional dates to their already massive UK Tour. Tickets to the tour are in high demand as the band will also be joined by Hollowstar and Empyre on select dates.

Pick up your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’ from Greta Van Fleet

Ash announce special Livestream celebration of ‘1977’

We conclude the live event section of the News Report with some exciting news from Ash.

The band has announced that they will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their classic debut album ‘1977’ with a very special livestream event. Taking place on Saturday 5th June, tickets to the event can be found here.

Read our review of ‘Sweep It Into Space’ from Dinosaur Jr.

Wolf Alice premiere ‘Smile’

Wolf Alice – ‘Smile’

Wolf Alice are well and truly back. As we start the new music portion of our News Report, we start with their latest single, ‘Smile’. Premiered this week, the track continues to build anticipation for their upcoming third studio album.

‘Blue Weekend’ arrives on June 11th, and you can pre-order your copy now by heading here.

Listen to ‘Smile’ on our Spotify Hot List!

The Wildhearts ready new album

The Wildhearts – ’21st Century Love Songs’

Following their recent, highly successful, livestream event, The Wildhearts have now announced details of their new upcoming album. ’21st Century Love Songs’ will arrive September 3rd and can be pre-ordered here.

Gary Numan unveils ‘Now And Forever’

Gary Numan – ‘Now And Forever’

With the release of his latest album imminent, Gary Numan has unveiled it’s latest single ‘Now And Forever’. You can listen to the track above, and you can pre-order ‘Intruder’ here ahead of its May 21st release.

The Fallen State release ‘River’

The Fallen State – ‘River’

The Fallen State this week released the second single from their forthcoming new album ‘Between Hope And Disillusion’. You can check out the new track, ‘River’ here.

Wargasm unveil ‘Your Patron Saints’

Wargasm – ‘Your Patron Saints’

The incredible Wargasm have this week unveiled their latest single – ‘Your Patron Saints’. Check out the track here.

Wargasm have also announced a headline show at Camden’s Underworld on September 10th. Tickets will be available here.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Full Pelt Music announces the launch of The Full Pelt Music Podcast!

To finish the News Report in style, we are proud to announce the launch of our very own podcast! Yes, The Full Pelt Music Podcast will debut on Monday 26th April 2021. Joining us on episode number one will be the one and only Frank Turner.

Be sure to follow us on Social Media for more news. The video podcast will debut here, so be sure to subscribe!

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Read our ‘Independent Venue Love’ feature

Categories
Features

The Year in Review 2020

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2020 for our Year in Review

What a year to pick to review. It’s been a year like no other and not for good reasons.

On a personal level as detailed within my first blog, ‘The Reluctant Blogger’, I was made redundant from a job I loved, just before Christmas and during a global pandemic! Not nice, but realistically I wouldn’t be writing this blog on this website if that hadn’t happened! The decision to return to writing about music also allowed me to take a look at the relationship between music and my mental health in ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

For the world it has been a year of pain, struggle and despair. From the fires of Australia to the flooding of the UK early in the year and now again just before Christmas; there has been no restpite in the year of the coronavirus. Unprecedented is the word of the year, but with Brexit and the ongoing pandemic looming large, the word for next year is probably uncertain.

Everybody has struggled this year, personally and professionally. This struggle is not limited to the music industry but our industry has struggled greatly. The live side of the industry is built on bringing people together and of course that has not been possible since March. The recorded side of the industry has also struggled with delays in recording, producing and distributing.

Recovery for the grassroots of the industry is far from guaranteed. The stark and sad reality is that many musicians and hard working crew members will have needed to have sought alternative employment and the actuality here is that many will never return to the music industry. The fact is many government schemes setup to alleviate the financial pressures on individuals and businesses simply bypassed these people.

Unfortunately the pandemic has also hastened the plight of many grassroots, independent music venues.  We have sadly already lost many venues and there are still many more at imminent risk of permanent closure. We have written extensively about the issues surrounding our industry in our blog ‘Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues’, and we encourage you to get involved in the initiatives highlighted.

This is of course a creative and innovative industry and through struggle we evolve. Much like the loss of my own job bred this website, the loss of touring and live shows has seen the evolution of the livestream. Many musicians have embraced technology and sought new ways to engage with their audiences. We have looked at the rise of this phenomenon in our blog ‘Livestreams: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’.

When looking back on 2020 in the future, the memories will fill everybody with dread. There has however been some fantastic musical highlights despite everything else. We recently revealed our Album of the Year in our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ blog; and the Top 20 list was highly competitive.

2020 has produced some incredible music and that’s where we are going to focus this end of year review. In order to celebrate the successes of a very difficult year we going to look at the following awards – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Gig of the Year, Festival of the Year and Artist of the Year!

Album of the Year

As mentioned we recently listed our Top 20 Albums of the Year here. This was a highly competitive list as 2020 saw some truly phenomenal releases.

Full Pelt Music’s Top 20 Albums of 2020

We said “It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.”

WINNER: ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

The Contenders: ‘A Hero’s Death’ by Fontaines D.C., ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ by Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ by Enter Shikari, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ by Biffy Clyro, and ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ by Creeper

Single of the Year

It’s been a good year for both Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud, with both releasing stunning new records. Yungblud recently hit the number one spot with ‘weird!’ which we reviewed here, and Bring Me The Horizon silenced their doubters with ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ which we reviewed here.

It shouldn’t therefore be so much of a surprise that their collaboration together is our standout single of the year. Accompanied by an over the top video, ‘Obey’ is a rip roaring tale of corruption and brainwashing, so perfectly fitting for 2020!

WINNER: ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

‘Obey’ – Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

The Contenders: ‘Model Village’ by IDLES, ‘Space’ by Biffy Clyro, ‘Trouble’s Coming’ by Royal Blood, and ‘Protect The Land’ by System Of A Down

Gig of the Year

I was lucky enough to catch some fantastic shows early in the year, you know BC (before Covid!), and Stereophonics, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Kaiser Chiefs and Fontaines D.C. all deserve special mention.

For my Gig of the Year however I’m again looking to the Covid era.

When life has drastically changed and you’ve been deprived of the opportunity to do something you love, you learn to savour those moments more. For me, as somebody that in 2019 attended some 93 gigs, the loss of live music was devastating. Of course, many people have endured much worse in 2020, particularly at the height of the initial national lockdown; for me however, I was just desperate for live music.

The opportunity to watch real, live music again thankfully emerged (if only for a short time) at the end of summer. Frank Turner lives by the moto “Always on Tour”, and he wasn’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way. An innovative location for a socially distanced gig was Nottingham Arboretum, basically a bandstand in a park. The result was a stunning if unusual setting for a gig which came to life when night fell and Turner serenaded the sold out crowd with his biggest hits.

A great supporting cast including Tash Bird, Holly Carter and Beans On Toast helped to make this show one to remember. The musicianship on show was fantastic, as was the togetherness and gratefulness of an audience desperate to once again forget life’s stresses and enjoy an evening of music. It was a powerful evening that brought tears to many an eye, and that’s why it wins our Gig of the Year award.

WINNER: Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum (20/09)

Nottingham Arboretum

The Contenders: Stereophonics @ Kentish Town Forum (21/01), Kaiser Chiefs @ Brighton Centre (30/01), Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ Alexandra Palace (15/02), and Fontaines D.C. @ Norwich UEA (24/02)

Festival of the Year

The coronavirus pandemic completely obliterated the 2020 festival season, as early optimism that some festivals would survive was eventually swallowed whole by this horrible virus. With social distancing in place, festivals just were not possible. But didn’t I say that the music industry is the most creative and innovative industry? Whilst some promoters attempted to arrange socially distant shows, tours and festivals, few succeeded; with even Live Nation cancelling a huge programme of drive in shows.

I was lucky enough however to venture to two such festivals at the Norfolk Showground near Norwich. A mixture of entertainment was laid on in a specially designed arena with socially distanced ‘pods’ maintaining the necessary safety measures. Brickfest was a one day festival focussing on covers band with a handful of original acts like headliners Bad Touch thrown in. The day was a huge success given the circumstances, as was our 2020 Festival of the Year – Wild Fields Festival!

Wild Paths Festival debuted in Norwich last year with acts gracing venues across the fine city. This year the event embraced the outside arena and rebranded as Wild Fields Festival over two days was an eclectic line-up on offer. The first day featured great sets from many young artists including Lauran Hibberd, Indoor Pets, Another Sky and headliners Gengahr.

Even through the greatest adversity the power of the arts shines through and Wild Paths was a shining example of how to put on a safe, fun and thoroughly entertaining festival during a global pandemic.

WINNER: Wild Fields Festival

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, also host of Wild Fields Festival

The Contenders: Brickfest

Artist of the Year

Our final award is for Artist of the Year. In a such an unprecedented and difficult year this award is going to an act that has considerably contributed to making the year better. Fantastic new music has played a hugely positive role in improving a hard year. With this in mind that means that IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C. and Yungblud are all in the running for this award.

Beyond that however real live music when possible has been an even greater high than normal. As such Frank Turner enters the running as an act I somehow managed to catch live this year some four times including the aforementioned Gig of the Year.

But this year is different, new albums and live shows whilst normally the lifeblood of our industry almost feel insignificant when you look at the horrors witnessed across society, both inside and outside the music industry. One saving grace for many this year has been the arrival of the music livestream. A number of those already mentioned have dabbled if not excelled in this activity.

Our winner however has taken this new outlet to heart. They have provided joy and distraction to thousands of people during what must be a record setting number of livestreams. More than that, they have managed to raise an amazing amount of money for a cause I have already championed in this blog. That cause is of course the Save Our Venues campaign and our Artist of the Year is clearly that man again, Frank Turner!

In 2020, Frank Turner has probably played more real shows and more livestreams than anybody else. He has recorded and released new music including collaborations with NOFX and Jon Snodgrass. He has produced the fantastic new Beans On Toast record. He has thoroughly entertained and provided much needed distraction from the real world to thousands; and he has raised an incredible amount of money for charity.

In reality Turner deserves a medal, but what we can give him is our Artist of the Year award!

WINNER: Frank Turner

Artist of the Year – Frank Turner

The Contenders: IDLES, Biffy Clyro, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Fontaines D.C., and Yungblud

2020, a year we will all be hoping to forget very quickly, but there has been some great music released. All focus now however is on 2021 and those vaccinations. We hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to safely gather again in those venues and fields to watch our favourite artists in the flesh.

There will also likely be an avalanche of new music coming our way with artists having been isolated with their creatively for company. Let’s just hope that not every song is about lockdown!

Categories
Features

Album of the Year 2020

Photo by Andrea Turner from Pexels

Who is going to make the Full Pelt Music Top 20 Albums of the Year List?

2020 – a year we would all much sooner forget. Certainly not the year we had all envisaged. Real life has been traumatic and upsetting for many. The effects of the virus have been disastrous for the music industry, with the collapse of live music and many delays and production issues for albums.

You’d think therefore that selecting an Album of the Year list would be difficult due to a lack of new music! We are however talking about the most creative and adaptable industry and in fact compiling this list has been hard for the opposite reason. Even through all the sadness and despair this year, we have been graced with some amazing new music.

More so, the uniqueness of this year has created a special connection to the music released during the most troubling times. This is therefore a highly competitive list and all 20 entries deserve high praise!

We have been counting down the list as part of our #AdventCalendar of music over on our Twitter Page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons below!

Finally, before we talk through our Top 20 Albums of the Year, a special mention to Yungblud and his new album ‘Weird!’ which we recently reviewed here. Released after the compilation of this list, the album is a stunning piece of work and had it been released earlier would have been competitive at the top of the list! But, now to the countdown…

20

HAYLEY WILLIAMS
‘Petals For Armor’

In a year that doesn’t seem to want to end, January seems a lifetime ago when Paramore’s Hayley Williams announced her debut solo album ‘Petals For Armor’. By the time that album arrived, the world had descended into chaos and all touring plans had been cancelled. When the album did emerge in May it represented a ray of light in dark times, and showed Williams has a lot to offer outside of Paramore.

we suggest you check out:

Hayley Williams – ‘Simmer’

19

DOVES
‘The Universal Want’

When Doves returned from an eight year hiatus in 2018 the band initially basked in that reformation glory. Thankfully for fans though it hasn’t taken long for the band to head back into the studio and the resultant album ‘The Universal Want’ is a timely reminder of what we had been missing.

we suggest you check out:

Doves – ‘Prisoners’

18

AC/DC
‘Power Up’

After a tumultuous few years with the tragic loss of Malcolm and departures of Cliff, Phil and Brian, AC/DC could have been easily forgiven for riding off into the sunset having had one of the greatest careers of any heavy rock band. But then that wouldn’t be the AC/DC way of doing things would it? Instead we get another classic AC/DC album in ‘Power Up’ with Williams, Rudd and Johnson back in tow!

we suggest you check out:

AC/DC – ‘Shot In The Dark’

17

REWS
‘Warriors’

The Shauna Tohill led REWS have somehow managed to equal if not surpass their debut album with sophomore release ‘Warriors’. Packed with punchy, catchy, bouncy rock and roll, we challenge you not to throw your heart and soul into this album just as Tohill clearly has.

we suggest you check out:

REWS – ‘Birdsong’

16

THE STRUTS
‘Strange Days’

With The Struts you should always expect the unexpected. This is not a band that plays by any kind of rule book. So why wouldn’t they team up with guests as diverse as Tom Morello, Phil Collen & Joe Elliott, Albert Hammond Jr and yes the actual Robbie Williams? ‘Strange Days’ solidifies The Struts reputation as the future of rock.

we suggest you check out:

The Struts – ‘Strange Days’

15

ALL TIME LOW
‘Wake Up Sunshine’

‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is somehow the eighth studio album for All Time Low, which makes me feel very old. Thankfully this isn’t an album that rests on any laurels and the band continue to deliver the goods with another very solid album added to that back catalogue.

we suggest you check out:

All Time Low – ‘Monsters’

14

THE KILLERS
‘Imploding The Mirage’

By now we know exactly what to expect from The Killers and thankfully their first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning still delivers that classic feel. With the likes of Lindsay Buckingham instead contributing on ‘Imploding The Mirage’, there is even an air of freshness to their sound.

we suggest you check out:

The Killers – ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’

13

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS
‘We’re The Bastards’

When Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons released their debut album, to the surprise of many they delivered a classic rock masterpiece. Any doubters thinking they couldn’t do it again have now been proven wrong with the release of ‘We’re The Bastards’ In our recent review (here) we stated “The bands fans are the loyal kind hence their lyrics proclaim “…’cause we’re the bastards, and you’re a bastard too…”.  If you’re in to good old fashioned rock and roll, give this album a listen and you too will be in that club”.

we suggest you check out:

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – ‘Son Of A Gun’

12

GREEN DAY
‘Father Of All…’

‘Father Of All…’ may not sit highly amongst the bands back catalogue if we are being honest, but an average Green Day album is still a very good album in the grand scheme of things. Despite this album pre-dating national lockdowns the album has remained on rotation throughout the year which is a testament to its real qualities.

we suggest you check out:

Green Day – ‘Oh Yeah!’

11

BOSTON MANOR
‘Glue’

Nobody should be surprised at the quality of Boston Manor’s albums anymore. With the release of their third album ‘Glue’, the band have now delivered three high quality albums with plenty to unpack.

we suggest you check out:

Boston Manor – ‘Liquid’

10

HAIM
‘Women In Music Pt. III’

With ‘Women In Music Pt. III’, Haim have let it all hang out with a statement of an album that takes listeners on a musical journey of wonder. Taking elements of various genres and given them that now classic Haim twist, this album is a stunning piece of musicianship.

we suggest you check out:

Haim – ‘Now I’m In It’

9

PVRIS
‘Use Me’

With the release of third album ‘Use Me’, PVRIS have continued their evolution into something majestic, enormous and vital. The bands growth had been put out there for all to see and this album just encapsulates the power of Lynn Gunn.

we suggest you check out:

PVRIS – ‘Dead Weight’

8

BLACK STONE CHERRY
‘The Human Condition’

On ‘The Human Condition’ we get the Black Stone Cherry that we all love, just doing what they do best. Full of head banging and foot stumping this record sees the band confirm that they are here to stay, and that they have plenty left in the creative tank.

we suggest you check out:

Black Stone Cherry – ‘Again’

7

TRIVIUM
‘What The Dead Men Say’

‘What The Dead Men Say’ is a stunning piece of work that captures a band that has hit their peak. Trivium have mixed the lessons learnt from their past with their recently rejuvenated vigour and have come out the other side with an album that stands up that anything that they have previously released.  

we suggest you check out:

Trivium – ‘Catastrophist’

6

CREEPER
‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’

The release of ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ was a rocky road for Creeper, and not just because of a global pandemic. Various internal struggles and personal demons had to be overcome before Creeper could make their grandiose return. Sadly this return coincided with a certain virus which hampered the typical over the top promotion of a Creeper release. Thankfully for the band the record itself is brilliant enough to shine through even the darkest times.

we suggest you check out:

Creeper – ‘Born Cold’

5

BIFFY CLYRO
‘A Celebration Of Endings’

As we hit the top five Albums of 2020, things are very tight. A terrible year has thankfully seem some amazing music emerge to see us through. Biffy Clyro are another band whose plans were destroyed by this horrible virus, with tours cancelled and the album delayed. The early single releases from ‘A Celebration of Endings’ however provided much joy in the early period of lockdown.

When the full album finally found his way into the public domain, little did fans realise the treat that was in store for them. Biffy Clyro always evolve with each release, but they somehow manage to retain that Biffyness to their music. This is a unique band and ‘A Celebration of Endings’ is a unique record that mixes both the beautiful and the heavy as only Biffy Clyro seem to be able to.

we suggest you check out:

Biffy Clyro – ‘End Of’

4

ENTER SHIKARI
‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’

Another band whose releases were a small positive in the huge negative that was the first national Lockdown was Enter Shikari. It was clear from the start that ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ was going to be a very special album. The connection felt now with certain tracks only serves to ensure that this album will forever be seen as one of, if not the best Enter Shikari album.

All the normal quirkiness is there, along with the more mainstream elements incorporated into 2017’s ‘The Spark’.  In fact, on this album Enter Shikari may have actually made the perfect Enter Shikari recipe and in turn the perfect Enter Shikari album!

we suggest you check out:

Enter Shikari – ‘satellites**’

3

BRING ME THE HORIZON
‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Yes, ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ is technically an EP, but it is just so outrageously good that it had to feature and feature high. Precursors such as ‘Ludens’ and ‘Parasite Eve’ had promised something special but I don’t think anybody predicted anything this good.

When we recently reviewed the record (here) we told you “This new EP takes the best elements from throughout their career and combines them in one stunning masterpiece of an album.”. Bring Me The Horizon prove with this album that the best is still to come!

we suggest you check out:

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Obey’

2

FONTAINES D.C.
‘A Hero’s Death’

The battle for the number one spot this year was fierce. Actually, the battle for the top 5 was fierce this year. Fontaines D.C. are the band that gets the number two spot, but this album deserves Album of the Year. ‘A Hero’s Death’ shows that the band are no flash in the pan and builds on the basis of debut ‘Dogrel’. This album actually feels a step above that debut album, and is another that has created a huge personal connection during this tough year.

This record has already rightfully brought the band much acclaim and we can’t wait to hear these songs live. Fontaines D.C. are an unstoppable songwriting force and with ‘A Hero’s Death’ they have placed their claim to be the band of their generation.

we suggest you check out:

Fontaines D.C. – ‘I Don’t Belong’

1

IDLES
‘Ultra Mono’

It has been a crazy year, and this list has been heavily influenced by that. As mentioned the top of this list is massively impacted by new music I heard during the height of the initial lockdown. ‘Ultra Mono’ was an album that I was already extremely excited to hear; and the stream of songs released during Lockdown only served to raise that excitement to a fever pitch.

Thankfully IDLES didn’t disappoint and when the album arrived it was a pure masterpiece. It shows a natural progression on the bands first two records and grows the bands sound. It still captures what made us all fall in love with the band but by incorporating new elements into the bands sound the album shows that IDLES are no one trick pony.

Above all other releases this year and those that feature in this list, this was the album that we needed this year. In a year where we have all been knocked down one way or another, IDLES and ‘Ultra Mono’ has been a call to arms, to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and keep going.

we suggest you check out:

IDLES – ‘Model Village’

So, there you have it, the Top 20 Albums of 2020 as considered by Full Pelt Music. We are sure that your lists will be different to ours and we want to hear them, so why not share yours with us on social media!