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The Year In Review 2021

The Year In Review 2021

Full Pelt Music looks back on 2021 for our Year In Review

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2020 was a year that we all wish we could forget. Could 2021 be any better? Well, it started off just as the previous year ended; with the live music industry on its knees. Lockdown restrictions still ruled out any live in person shows, with even socially distanced shows initially outlawed.

Come late spring, things began to look up and a number of “test” events were planned. We were lucky enough to attend the Pilot Download Festival and the euphoria of being amongst fellow music fans in a field can’t truly be put into words. Things were looking up!

Live music would eventually make a full return but sadly as we write this The Year In Review 2021 feature, the sector is once again holding its breath waiting for the Government to take action. Alas, true normality may still be a long way off, but for a few months this year we got to feel alive again.

That alone elevates 2021 above 2020, but there is plenty more to unpack. We recently undertook our now annual countdown of our top albums of the year over on our social media. 2021 was a truly exceptional year in terms of album quality. Those musicians kept in lockdown last year certainly found their creativity and compiling a list of the top 50 albums of the year was highly competitive.

Read our Album of the Year 2021 feature

In our The Year In Review 2021 article, we will be revealing our end of year award winners. As with last year we will announce our Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Artist of the Year, Gig of the Year and Festival of the Year.

This year however we have an additional award to hand out. 2021 was a big year for Full Pelt Music, our first full year in existence. We’ve grown and we’ve enhanced our focus on new music. We launched initially our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify through which we highlight the best up and coming artists.

We also launched not one but two Podcasts this year, including the accompanying ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast where we truly shine the spotlight on your new favourite acts. As such, this year we will also be awarding the ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Before we get to those awards though, let’s run you through a few of our highlights this year. First of all, as mentioned we also launched The Full Pelt Music Podcast this year. Fittingly our inaugural guest was Frank Turner, the winner of both our Gig of the Year and Artist of the Year awards in our 2020 Year In Review.

Across the Podcasts this year we’ve had the pleasure to talk with Press To Meco, Beans On Toast, Miss Vincent, Planet Fatale, Mercutio, Light By The Sea, Freddie and the Fabs, The Damned Few, Project Renegade, Icarus and Smoke! Be sure to check out these conversations, and also to Subscribe on Youtube or wherever you listen to your Podcasts. After all, we will have plenty more for you to enjoy in 2022.

The Music Industry has seized on the opportunity to entertain this year both live and on record. We’ve reviewed 66 albums, 2 festivals and 27 gigs in 2021 as fans have been treated to incredible releases and some truly stunning live shows. Again, perhaps the enforced break has allowed creativity to breed innovation.

So with that in mind, let’s work through those award catagories!

Album of the Year

As we’ve already referenced, the pure quality of releases this year made compiling our Top 50 Album of the Year List very tricky. It was hard work but we did it, and you can read the full list here.

The quality is demonstrated best by last year’s winners IDLES only reaching a still respectable number 7. The winner however had to be ‘Blue Weekend’ from the incredible Wolf Alice who continue to go from strength to strength. After three stunning albums, there is no ceiling for this band and we can’t wait to catch songs from the album live in 2022.

Winner:

‘Blue Weekend’ by Wolf Alice

The Contenders:

‘Written & Directed’ by Black Honey, ‘Typhoons’ by Royal Blood, ‘Seize the Power’ by Yonaka and ‘Transmute’ by Press To MECO

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES

Single of the Year

We move on now to our award for the Single or Song of the Year. This year has again seen us locked down for considerable amounts of time and many will have sought solace in Playlists such as our Spotify Hot List.

In selecting our track of the year we considered which songs we’ve come back to time and time again, which songs remain as fresh now as they did on first listen and what songs simply just resonate on a different level.

Our winner is an incredible track from the fantastic album ‘Transmute’ from Press To MECO. ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ ticks all of the criteria and also sounds absolutely massive live.

Press To MECO – ‘A Test Of Our Resolve’
Winner:

‘A Test Of Our Resolve’ by Press To MECO

The Contenders:

‘My Town’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, ‘Afterlife’ by Holding Absence, ‘Midnight’ by Creeper and ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’ by Frank Turner

Previous Winners:

2020 – ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud

Artist of the Year

Artist of the Year now and for this award we look for somebody who has had a huge, perhaps even career-defining year. Last year we gave the award to Frank Turner for his incredible work for the #SaveOurVenues campaign through his Independent Venue Love series.

This year our winners are a band that also dabbled with livestreams during that first lockdown. This year however has been a hugely important year for Biffy Clyro. A new album, ‘A Myth of the Happily Ever After’ came hot on the heels of last year’s ‘A Celebration of Endings’. It’s another quality album from a band that continue to deliver consistently great music.

The band also had a huge impact on the live music scene this year. Firstly, the band rode to the rescue by stepping in as late replacements for Queens of the Stone Age to once again headline Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Secondly, the band played huge outdoor shows in Cardiff, Glasgow and Margate to help signal the return of live music after around 16 months of lockdown. Highlights of both their Reading and Glasgow performances aired on the BBC.

Lastly, the band played a completely sold out and very intimate ‘Fingers Crossed’ Tour across the UK. Their shows this year giving fans an opportunity to witness songs from not one but two albums live for the first time.

Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt / Unknown Male 01’
Winner:

Biffy Clyro

The Contenders:

Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Creeper and Wolf Alice

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner

Festival of the Year

Festivals made a belated return from lockdown restrictions in late summer, although the majority of the usual seasons events were still cancelled. For our Festival of the Year however we can’t look anywhere other than the special event that laid the groundwork for all events to return, the Download Pilot Festival!

Back in June the Government test event was the first opportunity for music fans to camp in a field and rock out for three days. The camaraderie and atmosphere this situation created, combined with the uniquely intimate Download layout and line-up made for a once in a lifetime experience.

British bands took centre stage and delivered an incredible weekend of music; with bands and fans both desperate to experience live music again. Thanks to all involved we can hopefully experience a full fat Download Festival again this summer.

Read our review of the Download Pilot Festival!

Winner:

Download Pilot Festival

The Contenders:

Reading Festival and Lost Evenings

Previous Winners:

2020 – Wild Fields Festival

Gig of the Year

Last year’s winner of Gig of the Year was a socially distancing outdoor affair, this year however true live music returned! Picking a winner this year is difficult because the pent up frustration of lockdown on both musicians and fans vented fully across some amazing gigs.

We reviewed 27 of those shows this year and there were some very special moments amongst them. The winner however must go to Bring Me The Horizon who stormed the O2 Arena with You Me At Six and Nova Twins in tow.

The night was a massive middle finger to any remaining doubters and the band solidified themselves not just as arena fillers but as festival headline ready. Fitting therefore that they have recently been revealed as headliners for Reading & Leeds Festivals next year.

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

Winner:

Bring Me The Horizon @ O2 Arena

The Contenders:

Creeper @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Idlewild @ Electric Brixton, The Offspring @ Wembley Arena, Biffy Clyro @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, Vukovi @ Norwich Waterfront Studio and Royal Blood @ Norwich UEA

Previous Winners:

2020 – Frank Turner @ Nottingham Arboretum

‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year

Our final award is a new award for this year where we shift focus on to the future. Having launched our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist and Podcast this year we wanted to honour an act that we have featured and for whom the future is bright.

With their debut album ‘A Funeral For Youth’ cracking our top 20 for the year, Miss Vincent take the inaugural ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award!

Miss Vincent – ‘Rosaline’
Winner:

Miss Vincent

The Contenders:

Planet Fatale, Dead Nature and Thumper

So, it hasn’t been a usual year again, in fact at times it has been just as hard as 2020. 2021 has however reminded us of what we were missing. Stunning new music, incredible live shows and a return to some normality (nobody say ‘new’ normal!), make 2021 a year that will live long in the memory for many reasons.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our The Year in Review 2021 feature and we wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 is a good one!

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News Report

News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week!

News Report

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Reading Festival unveil 2022 line-up!

News Report

Welcome to another edition of our News Report. We have festivals galore to report on this week as organisers look to get in on the Christmas shopping rush!

We’ll start with one of the biggest events on the planet, Reading and Leeds Festivals. This week saw the combined event reveal the first acts for 2022 including headline slots for Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon and Rage Against The Machine!

If that wasn’t enough there are also sets from Wolf Alice, Enter Shikari, Fontaines D.C., Bastille, Fever 333 and Pale Waves. There are many, many more still to be announced too.

Tickets are here

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

Victorious Festival announce Stereophonics and more

News Report

Taking place the same weekend will be Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival. This week the event announced their first wave of acts including Friday headliners Stereophonics.

Also playing over the weekend will be James, Nothing But Thieves, The Wombats, Self Esteem, We Are Scientists, Little Man Tate and more.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Stereophonics live in Cambridge

Rebellion Festival reveal new R-Fest

News Report

Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival will next year include the new R-Fest. Taking place alongside the usual event, R-Fest will be part of the festival ticket or is purchasable as a standalone.

The outside event will feature headliners The Levellers, The Stranglers, Gary Numan and Squeeze.

They’ll be joined by The Wildhearts, Ferocious Dog, Beans On Toast, The Undertones, From The Jam, The Vapors, Peter Hook & The Light, Buzzcocks and more.

Tickets and information here.

Read our review of ’21st Century Love Songs’ from The Wildhearts

Burn It Down Festival reveals first acts for 2022

Torquay festival Burn It Down this week revealed the first acts for the 2022 edition. Taking place on 2nd and 3rd September, the event will feature a huge set from Dream State.

They will be joined by the likes of Tigercub, Gender Roles and Pupil Slicer.

Tickets are here.

Check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast on Youtube

Cambridge Folk Festival reveal first wave of 2022 acts

The festival announcements continue with Cambridge Folk Festival. The event revealed a host of acts for the 2022 return of the festival following the pandemic.

Acts playing the event include Passenger, Seasick Steve, This Is The Kit, Show Of Hands and Beans On Toast!

Tickets are here

Watch Beans On Toast on The Full Pelt Music Podcast

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 3 – Beans On Toast

Moseley Folk & Arts Festival reveal first acts for 2022

More festival goodness comes from Birmingham and the Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, which this week revealed their first acts for next year.

The line-up will be topped by Supergrass and Seasick Steve.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of Seasick Steve live in Norwich

Wide Awake Festival returns to Brockwell Park next year

Our final festival announcement comes from London event Wide Awake, which takes place in May in Brockwell Park

The two day event will feature a headline set from Primal Scream plus appearances from Working Men’s Club, Billy Nomates, Chubby & The Gang, Yard Act and many more.

Tickets are here.

Listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify

My Chemical Romance add additional UK dates

On to tour announcements now as our News Report progresses. My Chemical Romance fans have been left desperate to catch their returning heroes with their much hyped reunion continuously delayed by the pandemic.

With all three Milton Keynes dates long sold out, fans will now have more opportunity to catch them when they finally do arrive. This week saw the band reveal extra dates including Warrington, Cardiff and Glasgow.

Tickets will be here.

Listen to our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist

The Cure announce UK Tour

Another special tour announcement this week saw The Cure reveal a run of UK dates. Fans will have the opportunity to catch them in arenas across the UK next year.

Making the dates even better is support act The Twilight Sad!

Tickets are here

Read our review of Idlewild live in London

Jack White to play 2 London shows

Seeing out our tour announcement section of the News Report is the iconic Jack White.

White this week revealed a huge World Tour for next year. ‘The Supply Chain Issues Tour’ will include two nights in London at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo in June.

Tickets are here.

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Read our review of Enter Shikari live in London

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Live Reviews

Enter Shikari

Alexandra Palace, London

Saturday 4th December 2021

Enter Shikari

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ENTER SHIKARI – ALEXANDRA PALACE – LIVE REVIEW

We’re currently counting down our 2021 Album of the Year list on Social Media. It’s somewhat fitting yet frustrating therefore that we are at Alexandra Palace in London for the band that reached number four on our 2020 list.

Enter Shikari released one of the best albums of 2020 in the form of ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’, but have as yet been unable to tour that record due to the ongoing pandemic.

Finally, they now have the opportunity to take that album on the road, but alas the pandemic still has tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, the band take to their Social Media to announce bassist Chris Batten has Covid and is out, but the show will go on. Soon thereafter another post emerges and main support act, Dinosaur Pile-Up are also out as a result of Covid!

Despite all this adversity, the determination of the band shines and the show is on. Nova Twins are the first act on stage and continue to demonstrate just why they are so hotly tipped. Their ferocious, rip-roaring opening slot is instantly enough to justify the show proceeding. The band feel at home on huge stages and by the end of their short set, they have a legion of new fans.

With DPU out of the show, Enter Shikari called on their friends, and fellow St. Albans band Trash Boat answer the call at the 11th hour. DPU are a hard act to replace, but Trash Boat are an act up to the task. After all, their album ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ will likely feature towards the top of our 2021 Album of the Year list!

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ from Trash Boat

They are able to blow away any disappointment at the lack of DPU within minutes of taking the stage. A traditional show of hands for Trash Boat first timers sees most hands in the venue raise, but by the end of their time on stage there is no doubt everybody now knows their name.

The quick flowing evening soon finds us being counted down towards the arrival of Enter Shikari. The venue is sold out and is packed tight towards the front as fans desperately await their heroes.

‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ is an incredible album and it’s only right that it features heavily tonight. That starts from opening track ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ as the band burst on stage to a stunning light show and a blast of confetti.

WATCH ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ ON YOUTUBE
Enter Shikari – ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’

The crowd are truly up for it tonight as are the band. Despite the turmoil of the day and being a member down, Enter Shikari are able to adapt and overcome and still deliver an unstoppable performance.

Older tracks ‘Juggernauts’, ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ and ‘Mothership’ naturally elicit huge responses from the audience, but so do those new tracks. Highlights of the evening include ‘modern living…’, ‘satellites* *’ and ‘the pressure’s on.’.

Enter Shikari are an innovative and resilient force and tonight is a celebration of many things, but through all of the adversity of not just today but the last year or so, tonight is a triumph of tenacity.

An encore featuring two more new favourites in ‘T.I.N.A.’ and ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and the always uplifting ‘Live Outside’ closes out another victory lap for a vital band that continue to go from strength to strength.

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News Report

News Report

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week!

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Kendal Calling reveal huge 2022 line-up

News Report

Welcome to another edition of our weekly News Report. This week features a slew of festival announcements as events prepare for the 2022 season.

For many events, they are preparing for their first event since 2019 due to the pandemic. One such event is Kendal Calling, who this week revealed their comeback line-up and it doesn’t disappoint with headliners including Supergrass and Stereophonics.

Also featuring high on the bill will be the likes of The Wombats, The Kooks, The Vaccines, Pale Waves, Sports Team and The Snuts.

It’s lower down the poster however that the line-up comes to life with The Mysterines, Lottery Winners, Valeras, Lauran Hibberd, Pigs x7, Massive Wagons, Hacktivist, Skinny Lister, Deux Furieuses, Guise and Berries all set to feature!

All information and tickets can be found here.

Read our review of Stereophonics live in Cambridge

Truck Festival unveils 2022 line-up

News Report

Another festival returning after a two year lay-off will be Truck Festival, which will also celebrate the events 25th Anniversary!

Headliners for the special event will be Bombay Bicycle Club, Sam Fender, Kasabian, Blossoms and The Kooks.

They are set to be joined by the likes of Sports Team, Shame, The Subways, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Black Honey, Vistas, Kid Brunswick, Lauran Hibberd and Dream Nails.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of The Subways live in Norwich

Isle of Wight 2022 gets bigger

News Report

This week also saw Isle of Wight Festival make further additions to their line-up for 2022.

New additions include The Amazons, The Charlatans, The Fratellis, The Kooks, The Snuts and Wet Leg.

They join the already announced line-up that includes the likes of Kasabian, Muse, The Vaccines and The Coral.

Tickets are here.

Read our review of The Snuts live in Colchester

Slam Dunk Festival reveals Sum 41 and more

Slam Dunk Festival reshuffled their 2022 line-up this week with previously announced stage headliners Rancid no longer available. Added to the bill however are two new headline acts in the form of Sum 41 and Dropkick Murphys.

They are joined by new and previously announced acts such as Alexisonfire, The Interrupters, The Used, Deaf Havana, Hot Milk, Dream State and Spanish Love Songs.

Tickets are here.

Listen to our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Spotify Playlist

Standon Calling reveals new Thursday line-up!

Our final festival announcement this week comes from Standon Calling, who have revealed they will feature a huge bill on the Thursday in 2022.

Headlined by Madness and also featuring The Subways and The Skints, the Thursday provides a sneak peek at what’s to come with 3 more full days of music to be announced.

Tickets and information is here.

Check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast on Youtube

Music Venue Trust reveal next set of ‘Revive Live’ dates

The incredible Music Venue Trust continue to work tirelessly to protect our vital grassroots music venues from threats pandemic related and sadly un-pandemic related. FYI, if you choose to move in next to an existing music venue, don’t complain about the noise!

Anyway, this week saw MVT announce the next slate of dates for their ‘Revive Live’ tour in conjunction with The National Lottery. Lottery playing friends can get a free ticket with each ticket buyer!

Huge acts playing this January include Bastille, The Coral, Enter Shikari, Feeder, Carl Barat, The Snuts, James & The Cold Gun, Strange Bones and many more.

Tickets and information is here.

Read our review of ‘Coral Island’ from The Coral

Will Varley announces UK Tour

Our News Report moves on now to a couple of tour announcements, and up first is Will Varley. Following the release of his superb new album, ‘The Hole Around My Head’, Varley will be hitting the road in May next year.

You can grab your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘The Hole Around My Head’ from Will Varley

October Drift reveal UK Tour

Another act revealing a UK Tour set to take place in the first half of next year is October Drift.

The band has revealed a lengthy trek around the UK set to take place in March and April next year.

Tickets are here.

Listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist

Twin Atlantic debut ‘Dirty’

Twin Atlantic – ‘Dirty’

Time now to turn our News Report on to new music releases from the past week and we start with Twin Atlantic.

The band continue to build towards the release of their new album, ‘Transparency’ which arrives on January 7th. This week saw the band debut the latest track, ‘Dirty’, which you can listen to above.

Pre-order the album here.

Listen to ‘Dirty’ on our Spotify Hot List!

The Hot Damn! debut ‘I Didn’t Like You Anyway’

The Hot Damn! – ‘I Didn’t Like You Anyway’

There was more fantastic new music forthcoming this week from The Hot Damn!. The band debuted their latest single, ‘I Didn’t Like You Anyway’, which you can check out above.

For more from the band, follow them on Twitter.

Lyoness debut ‘Heroine’

Lyoness – ‘Heroine’

We finish our News Report this week with a band we recently featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist. Lyoness, dropped another new track this week and you can listen to ‘Heroine’ above.

More on the band here.

Listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast on Spotify

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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

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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

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News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

Full Pelt Music Weekly News Report 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:

Royal Blood drop new video for ‘Boilermaker’

Royal Blood – ‘Boilermaker’

We begin our weekly News Report with a look at the best new music released in the past week. First up is Royal Blood as the duo dropped their new single ‘Boilermaker’ this week.

Produced by Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, you can check out the single here. The track comes out ahead of the bands upcoming third album ‘Typhoons’, which is released April 30th.

Pre-order your copy here.

Listen to ‘Limbo’ from Royal Blood on our Spotify Hot List!

Myles Kennedy unveils ‘Get Along’

Myles Kennedy – ‘Get Along’

Alter Bridge, Slash and solo artist Myles Kennedy has unveiled the latest track from his upcoming album, ‘The Ides Of March’. You can check out ‘Get Along’ above.

You can pre-order the album here, which arrives on May 14th.

Listen to ‘In Stride’ from Myles Kennedy on our Spotify Hot List!

Pendulum return with ‘Come Alive’

Pendulum – ‘Come Alive’

Pendulum have debuted a new song this week in the shape of ‘Come Alive’, which you can check out above.

For more on Pendulum, head over here.

Black Deer announce The Roadhouse stage line-up

Black Deer Festival News Report

Just the one festival line-up for our News Report this week. The already great looking Black Deer Festival in Kent has announced the line-up for their The Roadhouse stage.

The hard hitting stage will feature sets from Orange Goblin, King Creature and many more. You can grab your tickets here.

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

Every Time I Die & The Bronx to hit the UK!

Every Time I Die The Bronx News Report

Onto our tour news section now as our News Report continues.

Every Time I Die and The Bronx are teaming up for a run around the UK early next year. The tour is also set to feature Jesus Piece and Sanction in support and finishes up at the Roundhouse in Camden on February 5th!

For tickets, you’ll want to head here.

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

MarthaGunn with 3 huge announcements!

MarthaGunn News Report

The fantastic MarthaGunn this week made three huge announcements as the band try to feature in all our usual News Report sections! So, welcome to the MarthaGunn section of the News Report!

The band has announced that the release date for their debut album ‘Something Good Will Happen’ will be September 17th. You can pre-order your copy here.

Secondly the group have unveiled their new single ‘Giving In’, which you can check out below.

MarthaGunn – ‘Giving In’

Last but certainly not least, MarthaGunn have also announced a run of UK dates for later this year. Tickets for which are available here.

Listen to ‘Honest’ from MarthaGunn on our Spotify Hot List!

Enter Shikari drop surprise album and reveal new book

Enter Shikari
Rou Reynolds – ‘A Treatise on Possibility’

We see out our News Report this week with Enter Shikari. This week saw the band drop their surprise new album ‘Moratorium (Broadcasts From The Interruption)’. The new release features special recordings of tracks from throughout the past year of lockdown.

You can listen here, and pick up physical copies here.

Alongside this announcement was news that frontman Rou Reynolds is releasing a brand new book entitled ‘A Treatise on Possibility: Perspectives on Humanity Hereafter’. The book will be released on July 16th and you can pre-order your copy here including a signed bookmark!

See where Enter Shikari came in our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ Blog

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

Categories
News Report

News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

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:

Slam Dunk unveil line-up for rescheduled Festival

Slam Dunk Festival Poster

The trend of festivals selling out continues following the recent government roadmap announcement. We again start our News Report this week with the pick of the festival news.

Up first is Slam Dunk Festival. The organisers had already announced that the twin event would move to the 4th and 5th of September at Leeds Temple Newsam and Hatfield Park. Now they have unveiled a line-up that includes headliners Sum 41 and Don Broco!

Also on the festival bill is a collection of some of our favourites including Reel Big Fish, A, Dream State, Normandie and Wargasm. Pick up your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ from Normandie

Bloodstock brings in Kreator

Bloodstock Festival Poster

Another event cementing their 2021 line-up this week is Bloodstock Festival. Having lost Mercyful Fate from the Saturday headline slot, the organisers have moved quickly to bring in Kreator to fill that spot.

They join the already announced Judas Priest, Skindred and Saxon. Pick up your ticket here.

Steelhouse Festival reveals their final three

Steelhouse Festival Poster

We also saw this week the final three acts announced for a fantastic looking Steelhouse Festival. The Wildhearts, Bernie Marsden and Wayward Sons join the likes of Anthrax, Europe, Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, Therapy? and Those Damn Crows.

Rockers rejoice and grab your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘We’re The Bastards’ from Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons

Black Deer deliver strong line-up

Black Deer Poster News Report

Our final festival coverage this week goes to a stunning line-up from Black Deer Festival in Kent. The event is set to feature performances from Van Morrison, Saving Grace, Frank Turner, Imelda May and Emily Barker.

You can grab your tickets here.

Read our tribute to Frank Turner’s Independent Venue Love series

Enter Shikari reveal rescheduled tour with new dates added

Enter Shikari Poster News Report

It isn’t just festivals maneuvering in the wake of the governments roadmap. Tours have been also been adjusting to those plans. This week has seen more rescheduling from the likes of Biffy Clyro and Enter Shikari. The latter even adding in five additional dates!

Lincoln, Hull, Bristol, Liverpool and Leeds will now also get to witness the majesty of Enter Shikari with Dinosaur Pile-Up and Nova Twins in tow. Grab any remaining tickets here.

Fatherson plan huge UK tour

Fatherson poster News Report

Another tour announced this week will see the incredible Fatherson hit the road for a lengthy trek around the UK. This promises to be one not to miss and you can pick up your tickets here.

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

Korn announce massive livestream event

Korn has announced details of a massive global livestream event taking place on Saturday 24th April 2021. Announcing the event frontman Jonathan Davis said “We hope you take part in this experience with us. And though it is not the same as performing live with you here, we still want to bring you some great music and a fun show.”

The show promises “hits, rare and sought-after deep cuts and select tracks from their latest album”. The event will be shot in downtown LA on the set of Stranger Things! Interest piqued? Grab your tickets here.

Read our blog ‘Livestream: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’

Yonaka drop new single ‘Ordinary’

Yonaka – ‘Ordinary’

We move now into our new music section of our weekly news roundup. This week we were treated to the second single from the upcoming second album from Yonaka. ‘Ordinary’ is further evidence that the new album will be very special.

Listen to ‘Seize The Power’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Gary Numan unveils ‘I Am Screaming’

Gary Numan – ‘I Am Screaming’

Gary Numan has also released the second single from his upcoming album. ‘I Am Screaming’ will feature on ‘Intruder’ which is due for release on May 21st.

Pre-order your copy here.

Listen to ‘Intruder’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Danko Jones ready new album

Danko Jones – ‘I Want Out’

Finally this week, news from Danko Jones. The band will be releasing their tenth studio album, ‘Power Trio’, on August 27th. In announcing the album, the band also unveiled the first single ‘I Want Out’.

Pre-order your copy here.

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Read our review of ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ from Rob Zombie

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!