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Live Reviews

Frank Turner

Junction, Cambridge

Friday 30th September 2022

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FRANK TURNER – CAMBRIDGE – LIVE REVIEW

You know that gig season is in full effect when you head along to a Frank Turner show. Yes, the man that is always on tour is on his rearranged ‘Never Ending Tour of Everywhere’. Tonight that means the Junction in Cambridge and another sold out show.

It’s almost a guarantee at a Turner show that you’ll be greeted by some fantastic support acts and this tour is certainly no different. Up first are Truckstop Honeymoon who serenade the crowd with their entertaining bluegrass folk sound, and their whimsical quips! The duo will be picking up many new fans on this tour as they introduce themselves properly to the UK.

The main support act on this tour is non-other than Pet Needs, who have featured on both our ‘Discover’ New Music and Full Pelt Music Podcasts. The band are intrinsically linked to Mr. Turner at the moment. He has produced both their albums and taken them on tour around the world. That said, it really feels like the band are breaking out and solidifying their own name.

Shows like tonight will go a long way towards that and it’s telling the amount of Pet Needs merchandise on display in the audience. Early fan favourites such as ‘Tracey Emin’s Bed’ and ‘Kayak’ intermix with new songs ‘Ibiza In Winter’ and ‘Fear for the Whole Damn World’ as the band showcase their enormous potential.

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Pet Needs – ‘Get on The Roof’

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Closing their generous time on stage with ‘Overcompensating’, ‘Toothpaste’ and ‘Get On the Roof’, anybody not yet alert to Pet Needs now surely are. The crowd give the band a huge ovation as they depart ready to continue to plot for world domination.

The audience is hot tonight and as Frank Turner takes to the stage the atmosphere is palpable. Imagine then the reaction as Turner bursts straight into a run of ‘Four Simple Words’, ‘The Gathering’, ‘Photosynthesis’, ‘Punches’ and ‘1933’ – hardly time for band or audience to breathe!

Turner’s latest album, ‘FTHC’, is a punk record and that ethos is certainly captured on this tour. Thankfully for Turner his audience are open to this change in pace and band and crowd are one tonight making this a great Friday night out.

Frank Turner is known to take particular care over his setlists and tonight is a typical career spanning affair with fan favourites, deep cuts and new tracks all on offer. Highlights tonight include ‘A Wave Across A Bay’, ‘Be More Kind’ and ‘Non Serviam’.

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Frank Turner – ‘Non Serviam’ (Live)

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At this point you know what you are going to get from a Turner show, and that’s an amazing time. Realistically that makes him a very difficult person to review, his consistency and endurance are unrivalled and you never really get a misstep.

Tonight the show climaxes with an encore of ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’, ‘Recovery’, ‘Try This At Home’ and ‘I Still Believe’, which drains every remaining drop of energy out of the venue. Don’t take Turner for granted, get down to a show and have a great night!

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

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 1 – Frank Turner

Read our review of Arkells live in Norwich

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Live Reviews

Hard-Fi

Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes

Thursday 29th September 2022

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HARD-FI – MILTON KEYNES – LIVE REVIEW

Tonight is a hot ticket, with venue staff stating that they could’ve sold the venue out four times over, and that people had been inquiring about just listening from outside the venue.

The reason for the excitement is that tonight indie rock standouts Hard-Fi will be playing their first show in eight years. Not just that but it takes place in the intimate surrounds of one of the UK’s premier independent music venues – the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes (or Wolverton as singer Richard Archer points out).

Yes, the return of Hard-Fi is very welcome and given the lyrical content of some of their early material, it’s somewhat apt that the band responsible for ‘Cash Machine’ return during one of the most tumultuous weeks of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Tonight serves as a warm up for their big return shows in Manchester and London, but before Hard-Fi arrive on stage we have the warm up for tonight. Eddz channels his inner Ian Brown, performing solo to a backing track. In front of a baying crowd, Eddz styles out the performance well and certainly leaves the stage with more fans than we he arrived.

The venue is rammed tight by the time the returning heroes arrive on stage and opener ‘Middle Eastern Holiday’ instantly engages the crowd. The atmosphere is electric as the band find their feet through the likes of ‘Can’t Get Along (Without You)’ and ‘I Shall Overcome’.

There is a slightly misguided rendition of The White Stripes classic ‘Seven Nation Army’ early in the show which feels oddly placed and generally unnecessary, however the next tracks ‘Tied Up Too Tight’ and ‘Good For Nothing’ ensure that the crowd remains firmly onboard.

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Hard-Fi – ‘Cash Machine’

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A run of ‘Better Do Better’, ‘Bring It On’, ‘Fire In The House’ and ‘Cash Machine’ is fantastic, and just shows the depth of the bands back catalogue. Despite only having 3 studio albums to their name, Hard-Fi certainly have the proverbial bangers for days!

Whilst there are times that it’s clear this is their first show in a very long time, the band shake off any gremlins to deliver a memorable night for their fans. ‘Suburban Knights’ and ‘Hard To Beat’ close out the main set for a three song encore which ends of ‘Living For The Weekend’.

The band are living for this weekend and their big return shows, but after this performance, fans will be hoping that Hard-Fi stick around for a while longer!

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Live Reviews

Lonely The Brave

Junction, Cambridge

Wednesday 21st September 2022

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LONELY THE BRAVE – CAMBRIDGE – LIVE REVIEW

It feels like an eternity ago that Lonely The Brave burst onto the scene with their incredible early EP, ‘Backroads’. That’s probably because that actually was almost a decade ago, and wow has the world been through some tough times since then.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the band either, with the switch of vocalist in 2018 a major hurdle. Thankfully the band secured the talented Jack Bennett to fill the very big shoes of David Jakes.

The problem for the band now is that just when they would need momentum the most, the world stopped moving. The pandemic disrupted all people in all walks of life with the music industry hit very hard.  Imagine then the impact on Lonely The Brave as they looked to move seamlessly into their new era.

New album, ‘The Hope List’, was released in the midst of lockdown in January 2021 and plans to tour in support were naturally delayed. That time has belatedly arrived now and tonight they play a special hometown show at the Junction in Cambridge.

There are two support acts on tap with VLMV up first, captivating the early audience with a sonic smorgasbord of guitars, synths and vocals. Cult icon Jamie Lenman then blasts though a short set of new material which ramps up the intensity in the venue. Both acts have done a good job warming up a slightly lethargic crowd ready for the hometown heroes to arrive.

Welcomed warmly onstage Lonely The Brave instantly mix new tracks such as ‘Keeper’ and ‘Distant Light’ with old favourites like ‘Black Mire’ and ‘Trick of the Light’. This is a theme that continues throughout the evening.

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Lonely The Brave – ‘Trick of The Light’

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Bennett as we say has had big shoes to fill vocally and he manages to do those old favourites justice tonight whilst also adding new layers both sonically and corporeally.

There is an unusual tense atmosphere in the venue tonight, which feels highlighted by this being a hometown show. It’s only really when the likes of ‘The Blue, The Green’, ‘Backroads’ and ‘Black Saucers’ appear towards the end of the show that the audience relaxes a bit.

Performance wise the venue witnesses three strong sets tonight from three acts at varying stages of their careers. The industry is in a tough spot right now, but you’d hope there is enough talent on show here that these acts can kick on from here.

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Arkells

Waterfront Studio, Norwich

Thursday 15th September 2022

ARKELLS – NORWICH WATERFRONT STUDIO – LIVE REVIEW

With the nights drawing in and the first full festival season in three years now completed, it’s time to head back indoors for our live music fix. And where better to start than in one of the UK’s many incredible intimate independent venues!

That brings us to Norwich at The Waterfront Studio for a sold out show from Canadian acts Arkells and Lights. Getting to welcome international acts such as these back into venues such as this is another reminder of the progress live music has made to return this year, and the venue fills up early with fans eager for an evening of great music.

Whether or not they’d be in receipt of such was never really in doubt considering the acts present. Up first is the multi-talented Lights who clearly has her fair share of diehard fans in attendance. Thankfully for them she has a whole hour to showcase her genre-bending indie pop, to the delights of those in the venue.

Latest album, ‘PEP’, features highly throughout a career spanning set list and album tracks such as opener ‘Prodigal Daughter’, ‘Beside Myself’ and ‘Okay Okay’ are highlights in a consistently powerful and uplifting show.

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Lights – ‘Prodigal Daughter’

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Yes, the bar for tonight is set very high by Lights, and many seasoned professionals would flounder in their attempts to follow such a performance. Luckily for both the band and the packed venue, Arkells are more than up to the challenge.

The Opening trio of ‘Past Life’, ‘Leather Jacket’ and ‘Michigan Left’ set the stage for another top tier performance from this well-oiled touring machine. At this stage of their career, the group have songs for days so it’s refreshing that they are willing to accept audience requests such as ‘Hand Me Downs’ which occurs next.

Arkells provide another career encapsulating set list with a particular focus on recent efforts ‘Blink Once’ and ‘Blink Twice’. Big hitters such as ’11:11’, ‘Knocking At The Door’ and finale ‘You Can Get It’ all elicit huge reactions from the crowd, however the highlight of the night comes from something special and unique.

Frontman Max Kerman regales the crowd with the tale of a young married couple having their first dance to ‘And Then Some’, with the track being performed by a local covers band. Kerman proceeds to recreate the moment of the first dance with the couple in the crowd, even bringing out the singer of said band, Counterfeit Brits, to sing.

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Arkells – ‘Human Being’ with Lights

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Another memorable moment comes via ABBA cover, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’. Expect the unexpected appears to be the theme of the night as Lights also returns to the stage to perform ‘Human Being’ with Arkells; much to the delight of an audience who will remember this night for years to come.

Live music is well and truly back, and our independent venues are leading the charge with amazing shows such as this taking place every night of the week. The tickets to catch these two fantastic international acts in intimate UK venues are surprisingly inexpensive. Thankfully for you there are a number of shows remaining on this tour, so do yourself and your local venue a favour and head along to one!

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Reading Festival

Saturday 27th August 2022

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READING FESTIVAL – SATURDAY – FESTIVAL REVIEW

Reading & Leeds Festivals are the traditional end of the UK Festival season, and this year is a milestone year as a full calendar takes place for the first time since 2019. Let’s not dwell on why, instead let’s head straight into the action on a packed and hot Saturday at Reading Festival.

Sold out well in advance, Saturday at this year’s event is a particularly hot ticket with a stunning line-up throughout and topped by Arctic Monkeys and Bring Me The Horizon.

We are in the arena bright and early for surprise opening act Wargasm who storm the main stage with a set packed full of energy and attitude. The band appears to be on a world conquering mission, and nobody can argue their work ethic. It’s also damn hard to argue with their captivating stage presence and musical outlay.

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WARGASM – ‘Fukstar’

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We then head into the ‘Festival Republic’ Tent for the next couple of acts. With the new two main stage structure at Reading & Leeds Festivals the separate ‘Pit’ and ‘Lock-up’ stage has sadly been a much missed casualty. There is much less choice now for the music connoisseurs amongst the crowd; which isn’t a problem with a stacked line-up like today but is very evident on Friday and Sunday.

This change does mean there is less cohesion in the line-up with heavy rockers Static Dress followed by lad rock upstarts The Skinner Brothers in the tent. Despite their difference styles both deliver energetic and well-received performances for the early risers.

There is more indie-fuelled sing-a-long action next back on the main stages with The Lathums pulling in a decent crowd. Whilst there is nothing earth-shatteringly new about what they do, The Lathums do this modern stock-indie reasonably well.

WATCH POPPY PLAY ‘BLOODMONEY’ AT READING FESTIVAL
Poppy – ‘BLOODMONEY’

Whilst there were no moulds broken on one main stage, over on the other is Poppy, an artist who has broken every mould she’s been in. Yes, originally a Youtube sensation, then a bubblegum pop idol and now a heavy metal phenomenon, Poppy crosses many boundaries. Today she oozes rockstar appeal as she owns the stage with their eclectic musical offerings, proving along the way that she retains a very bright future.

A bright future is also ahead for Sueco, who attracts a good sized audience in the tent next for his debut UK performance. Over the next thirty minutes Sueco has that crowd in the palm of his hands as he runs through fans favourites including TikTok sensation ‘Paralyzed’.

Enter Shikari are a band more concerned with the future of the planet than that of their career and they take a main stage next for a politically charged call to arms with epic musical accompaniment. New single, ‘The Void Stares Back’ including guests Wargasm sounds absolutely huge as do tracks from previous album, ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’.

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Enter Shikari – { The Dreamer’s Hotel }’

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A passionate speech is curtailed through either a power failure or for the conspiracy theorists – censorship. Either way even with a stifled end to their set, the band show once again that they are one of the best live acts on the planet.

We’ve mentioned the stacked line-up today and part of the reason for such excitement is the collection of a number of bands in the best live act conversation. Next up on the other main stage are Fontaines D.C. who receive a hero’s welcome by swelled crowd.

WATCH FONTAINES D.C. PLAY ‘BOYS IN THE BETTER LAND’ AT READING
Fontaines D.C. – ‘Boys In The Better Land’

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New album, ‘Skinty Fia’, takes centre stage as the band deliver the likes of ‘I Love You’, ‘Jackie Down the Line’ and ‘Roman Holiday’. A young fan coming out the crowd to ace guitar on ‘Boys in the Better Land’ provides one of the highlights of the festival, and the band leave the stage having proven themselves to be in the pool of future headliners.

Another band no doubt destined to headline Reading Festival in the not too distant future is Wolf Alice. Whether rocking hard on ‘Smile’, serenading us with ‘Safe From Heartbreak (If You Never Fall in Love)’ or showing their all round brilliance on ‘The Last Man on Earth’, Wolf Alice are a band that can literally do it all.

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Wolf Alice – ‘How Can I Make It OK?’

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A twelve song set absolutely flies by this evening and with a rammed field of fans left desperate for more, surely a full headline show from the band is a must next time they come to town.

That’s one thing Reading & Leeds Festivals have always excelled at – giving new headliners their shot. That’s exactly what they do next with heavy hitters Bring Me The Horizon finally being given the main stage headline festival set they earned years ago!

What those who gather for the performance are greeted with is a band at the peak of their powers, both creatively and as a live act. The band proceed to deliver a memorable set for all the right reasons. This is a victory for Bring Me The Horizon and for heavy music and the band do all in their powers to fulfil all expectations.

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Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Bad Habits’ feat. Ed Sheeran

Read our review of Bring Me The Horizon live in London

The setlist is flawless, the visuals are stunning, the crowd interaction is on point and the band sound incredible; this is a real moment. A moment made even bigger by the band bringing out Ed Sheeran for a dose of ‘Bad Habits’ to the ear-piercing sound of teenage girls screams.

This is the sort of performance that you don’t want to follow but that’s just what Arctic Monkeys have to do next. Being one of the most hotly anticipated acts of the weekend and one much craved by fans in recent years, surely this would be easy for megastars such as Arctic Monkeys.

WATCH ARCTIC MONKEYS PLAY ‘R U MINE’ AT READING
Arctic Monkeys – ‘R U Mine’

Sadly for those in attendance what the band deliver is a lukewarm showing. The opposite of Bring Me The Horizon, the setlist is poor, the visuals are basic, the crowd interaction is nearly non-existent and the sound is too low. A stunning day such as this needed a big finish and that should in hindsight of been Bring Me The Horizon.

Arctic Monkeys are a huge act with a back catalogue you can hold against anybody else, but today it feels like a phoned in effort. It isn’t a bad show by any stretch of the imagination; it’s a good show that should’ve been a great show.

Hopefully the band can rediscover their spark with new album, ‘The Car’ on the way, but tonight belongs to a different Sheffield band!

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All Points East

Victoria Park, London

Friday 19th August 2022

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ALL POINTS EAST – FESTIVAL REVIEW

All Points East is once again taking over Victoria Park in London for a series of huge shows and community activities. The event which debuted in 2018 has brought some of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world to London over the years, and this year will include performances from The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Tame Impala, The National, Disclosure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Night one plays host to iconic ensemble Gorillaz, but first fans have to battle transport issues created by strikes affecting buses, overground, underground trains. Coldplay’s show tonight at Wembley Stadium is postponed to support fan attendance, but All Points East decide to press ahead with little acknowledgement of the issues.

Almost certainly some fans will have thought twice about the journey, however as we arrive at the festival site around dinner time it is clear that many thousands have managed to navigate the issues. Attendance today is far from full, however is far greater than we perhaps expected given the challenges.

This is a highly corporate festival and this comes across in the atmosphere. There are plenty of music fans in attendance but also more than enough people clearly just looking for a very expensive place to drink in the sun with their friends! With only cans of beer available from most bars, I’d suggest a 24 pack from the supermarket, a decent stereo and a garden would’ve been a better option for some.

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Yves Tumor – ‘Kerosene!’

Upon arrival we force ourselves through the picnic benches and corporate sponsors to the ‘West’ Stage where Yves Tumor is strutting their stuff much to either the delight or bemusement of those in attendance. Tumor’s eccentric electronic rock is a great way to get into the festival spirit and helps to remind us that we are actually here for some live music!

There are many stages of varying sizes at All Points East, but for tonight we need to dart between the two main stages. These are at opposite ends of the site, but we are able to get between them in under five minutes with the utilisation of a power walk.

Watch ‘TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION’ from Turnstile on Youtube
Turnstile – ‘TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION’

It’s therefore to the ‘East’ stage next for us and American hardcore punks Turnstile. This is a group making noise both literally and figuratively with latest album, ‘Glow On’, bringing new eyes and bigger audiences for the band.

The critical acclaim achieved by ‘Glow On’ has certainly helped the band grow, but their live shows have ensured that once you take a look at them, you don’t want to look away. Today the band feel at home on the big stage and their performance is once again captivating and engaging.

The setlist is dominated by ‘Glow On’ tonight which is no surprise, and once their time is finished fans are left in awe of what they have just witnessed. So would we be if we didn’t now need to race back to the ‘West’ stage for another incredible live act, IDLES!

Watch ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ from IDLES on Youtube
IDLES – ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’

IDLES are one of the most visceral and enthralling acts to emerge in the last decade. Four stunning albums into what promises to be a legendary career, the band attract a big crowd to the far end of the festival site.

It’s also an impassioned crowd as they let go with their heroes to the likes of ‘Mother’, ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, ‘A Hymn’ and ‘The Wheel’. IDLES are a force of nature once they hit the stage and they somehow manage to make an enormous corporate field feel like a tiny little club show.

Their performance tonight is headline quality with closing duo ‘Danny Nedelko’ and ‘Rottweiler’ eliciting a rapturous response from the crowd. The connection between IDLES and their fans is a beautiful thing to witness and surely soon enough they will be the final act of these sized events.

It’s a hard thing for any act to follow IDLES, but that is exactly what Gorillaz must do next. Thankfully for them they are the brainchild of Damon Albarn who has a natural ability to control a festival crowd.

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Gorillaz – ‘Clint Eastwood’

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Albarn is joined in Gorillaz by a collection of extremely talented musicians who together bring the vision to life. For over twenty years now the music of Gorillaz has pushed boundaries, experimented and brought together collaborators from all walks of musical life. Tonight the group showcase this to an expectant All Points East audience starting with ‘M1 A1’ and ‘Last Living Souls’.

The overall setlist tonight is heavy on the ‘Demon Days’ and ‘Plastic Beach’ albums, but it is a career-spanning set with early favourite ’19-2000’ arriving early in the show.

As you’d probably expect the bigger hits elicit the biggest reactions today, perhaps more noticeably so with this cosmopolitan crowd. Another influence on the crowd reaction measuring scale is the plethora of special guests that Gorillaz are able to bring out. The biggest surprise comes with Tame Impala joining Gorillaz and Bootie Brown on new song ‘New Gold’.

We are also treated to Shaun Ryder and Rowetta on ‘DARE’, Paul Simonon on ‘Plastic Beach’ and De La Soul on ‘Feel Good Inc’, not to mention appearances from Popcaan, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Moonchild Sanelly, Mos Def and Sweetie Irie. Yes there is a real party feel to the show tonight as Gorillaz parade their friends.

All this makes for a very memorable evening that draws to a close with ‘Clint Eastwood’. In just a few hours we’ve witness four fantastic acts all presenting their art in their own unique ways. All Points East may feel overly commercial at times but nobody can doubt their ability to curate some of the most eclectic and quality line-ups on offer by UK festivals.

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Kasabian

UEA LCR, Norwich

Thursday 21st July 2022

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KASABIAN – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

To say this week has been hot would be the understatement of the century. So, whilst the opportunity to cram into a sold out UEA LCR in Norwich isn’t the most appealing; doing so to catch indie rock royalty Kasabian play an intimate headline show makes it unmissable.

The dust has firmly settled on the well publicised line-up change in the band, and massive slots at the Isle of Wight and Knebworth this summer have just solidified what fans discovered on the bands return tour last year – new look Kasabian remain one the best live bands on the circuit.

This show was originally set to be part of their lowkey return tour, but illness saw the show postponed to now. The show is in effect now a small warm-up for their headline set at Tramlines this weekend.

The band are given a hero’s welcome from the pumped up audience as they arrive on stage. The atmosphere in the venue tonight is as hot as the weather has been and it all goes off as Kasabian kick off with ‘Club Foot’, ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ and ‘Underdog’!

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Kasabian – ‘SCRIPTVRE’

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Sweaty bodies are everywhere as the band continue to showcase their reinvigorated live show. Newly minted frontman Serge Pizzorno stalks the stage like a man possessed, he controls the crowd with natural ease as he steps out of the shadows to the forefront of the band.

Kasabian always were a phenomenal live act, and the line-up switch doesn’t change that. The genius step that the band has taken is to add The Music frontman Rob Harvey to their live line-up. Harvey fills the huge void left by Pizzorno in his previous role and adds a whole new level to the groups sound.

Nobody can doubt the quality of their back catalogue with tracks like ‘You’re In Love With a Psycho’, ‘Shoot the Runner’, ‘stevie’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Vlad the Impaler’ on offer tonight. What the band does in the studio next will be interesting but new tracks ‘CHEMICALS’ and ‘ALYGATYR’ show they still have plenty to offer.

Any doubt that Kasabian remain a viable live entity has been dispelled and come this winter, the band will once again be gracing arenas across the UK.

They sign off this evening with an encore of ‘Bless This Acid House’, ‘L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)’ and ‘Fire’. It’s been a night to remember for the audience and another statement made by a reinvented and rejuvenated band.

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Jimmy Eat World

Brixton Academy, London

Wednesday 6th July 2022

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JIMMY EAT WORLD – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

After two years of waiting, Arizonian emo icons Jimmy Eat World finally arrive at what Jim Adkins refers to as his favourite venue to play. That love is reciprocated as Brixton Academy is packed tonight as fans await their heroes.

Those in the venue early are greeted by opening act together PANGEA from Los Angeles. A promising start soon begins to plod as the heat takes hold. It’s been a hot one today and as this set continues, fans begin to wilt.

Anticipation rises again for our main support act, The Get Up Kids. The influential group are given a good forty five minutes to play with, but this may end of working against them. Again the set starts well, but soon becomes samey and tiresome, with the general lethargy of the audience not exactly helping to create an exciting atmosphere.

With a crowd devoid of vigour, and energy sapping, tonight needs a kick up the rear end. Thankfully for everyone Jimmy Eat World are ready to do just that and start off their performance with ‘Futures’, ‘Pain’ and ‘Bleed American’.

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Jimmy Eat World – ‘Pain’

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Suddenly the venue finds its voice and our headliners are able to revive the flagging audience. There is a connection between Jimmy Eat World and their fans and that means even new tracks such as ‘Criminal Energy’ from latest effort ‘Surviving’ are savoured.

The first two bands time on stage dragged, but our headline set flies past, which is always a good sign. This is a band that knows what the fans want, and they simply plough through their fantastic back catalogue.

Obvious highlights come from the sing-a-long moments such as ‘Big Casino’, ‘A Praise Chorus’, ‘Work’ and ‘Hear You Me’. The whole set tonight flows well though and by the time main set closers ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’ are aired the crowd are refreshed and able to let loose.

An encore of ‘Get It Faster’ and ‘23’ brings an end to what has ultimately been an enjoyable night which was well worth the wait!

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Rival Sons

UEA LCR, Norwich

Monday 27th June 2022

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RIVAL SONS – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

It was March 2012, some ten years ago now, that I first discovered Rival Sons on this very stage. The band supported Black Stone Cherry here at the UEA LCR in Norwich and instantly had a new fan.

I was captivated by the incredible power of the band and the unbelievable voice of singer Jay Buchanan. The bands most recent release at the time was their breakthrough second album, ‘Pressure & Time’, so imagine my delight that the band are back on this stage tonight playing that album in its entirety!

My history of this band in this venue doesn’t stop there however. Two years later in 2014 the band headlined the venue for the first time and I attended to review for another publication. Just two songs in Buchanan departed the stage unable to continue and the show abruptly ended. The last song played, you guessed it, ‘Pressure and Time’.

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Rival Sons – ‘Pressure and Time’

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The band made up for that show in 2015 and now some seven years later they return with Buchanan acknowledging onstage “…I remember this place…”. Before that though we have the support band!

Tonight, that band is Dirty Honey who hark back to that night of discovery a decade ago by delivering a blistering set of classic rock infused numbers that somehow seems to channel the same energy as Rival Sons way back when.

Many in the crowd appear clued in and lap up the likes of ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘When I’m Gone’. I can certainly see history repeating itself and Dirty Honey making similar strides to those of our headliners tonight.

The weird time warp that I find myself in then comes full circle with Rival Sons arriving on stage and banging out ‘Pressure & Time’ in full with very little time spent coming up for air.

It isn’t until the band plough through the tracks that you remember just how many great tracks are on this album. ‘All Over the Road’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Burn Down Los Angeles’, ‘Gypsy Heart’ and ‘White Noise’ all stand out this evening.

It’s not until after they return from a very short intermission that the band begin to engage with the audience and the atmosphere becomes more relaxed. ‘Open My Eyes’ and ‘Electric Man’ certainly help to loosen up the crowd a little.

There are stunning moments with Buchanan demonstrating those hauntingly good vocals on ‘Jordan’ and ‘Shooting Stars’ before the band stretch their legs on ‘Feral Roots’.

They close out the show with ‘Do Your Worst’ and new track ‘Nobody Wants To Die’, and the audience are sent into the night happy. We’ve relived the past and looked to the future, and we’ve celebrated the fact that Rival Sons remain an incredible force live.

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Rammstein

Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry

Sunday 26th June 2022

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RAMMSTEIN – COVENTRY – LIVE REVIEW

This review could be very short indeed, as just four words would really suffice. Quite simply, “Go see Rammstein live!”.

A Rammstein show is truly an experience from start to finish. What other act could have only their own music piped into the venue in between acts, and have the only support act be two classical pianists playing, you guessed it, Rammstein songs, without appearing to be egomaniacal?

Every minute detail of the event is planned methodically to welcome attendees to the theatre that is Rammstein live.

The praise heaped upon the current spectacle that the band are touring has been well documented, with most audience members walking away from their Milton Keynes show proclaiming it the best gig ever.

Since then we have had a pandemic, and importantly due to this down time and delay to these follow up shows, we have a new Rammstein album! ‘Zeit’ arrived this April and is typically insane, so there should be no worry of these new songs fitting in tonight.

Following the classical takes of Duo Abelard, anticipation reaches a fever pitch inside the packed stadium. The stage protruding out the top of the stadium, the setup really is intimidating, and the fact that the front pit is called the Feuerzone should tell its own story.

As soon as the band take to the stage the onslaught of noise and flame commences and the audience are split between those banging their heads to the likes of ‘Links 2-3-4’ and ‘Mein Herz brennt’, and those more akin to attendees at a fireworks display with eyes wide, mouth open and plenty of ooohs and aaahs.

WATCH ‘ZICK ZACK’ FROM RAMMSTEIN ON YOUTUBE
Rammstein – ‘Zick Zack’

Find Full Pelt Music on Youtube!

As expected the new songs slip in seamlessly with ‘Zick Zack’ and ‘Zeit’ going down particularly well amidst the fire, confetti and extravagant lighting of the show.

The run of ‘Deutschland’, ‘Radio’, ‘Mein Teil’, ‘Du hast’ and ‘Sonne’ is incredible and demonstrates that there is so much more to Rammstein then just the show. That being said, the show is also so good that you needn’t be a fan of the music to have an incredible time.

It’s that combination of music and show, style and substance that truly elevates Rammstein above anyone else. A piano version of ‘Engel’ performed from the b-stage before the band crowd surf back to the main stage in boats is another stunning moment from a show packed full of wow moments.

By the time the band close out the experience with ‘Adieu’ even the most cynical of critics will be won over or they are just lying. So… music, fireworks, insane antics, burning towers, impossible amounts of confetti etc etc etc… basically, four words… “Go see Rammstein live!”.

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