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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.

WATCH ‘GET ON THE ROOF’ FROM PET NEEDS ON YOUTUBE
Pet Needs – ‘Get on The Roof’

Read our review of ‘Primetime Entertainment’ from Pet Needs

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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Read our review of ‘FTHC’ from Frank Turner

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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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.

WATCH ‘TICK OF THE LIGHT’ ON YOUTUBE
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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The Xcerts

Portland Arms, Cambridge

Tuesday 20th September 2022

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The cost of living crisis currently strangling the UK has become the latest threat to the future of our independent grassroots music venues. The Music Venue Trust had already engaged with The National Lottery for the #ReviveLive campaign in answer to the pandemic, but now it takes on even greater meaning.

It’s venues such as the Portland Arms in Cambridge where we are tonight that are vital to the music ecosystem. No introductory venues – no cultivating superstars. No regional venues – unsustainable travel to gigs for fans. No new superstars and unaffordable costs for fans – the collapse of the music industry! That may seem dramatic, but it’s the short, sharp and real threat that we are facing.

Tonights #ReviveLive show features Scottish rock band The Xcerts and has been pushed back a day to avoid the Queen’s funeral. Despite the change and the lack of a support act, the venue is suitably stocked with audience members come the time for the band to hit the stage.

The setlist tonight comprises tracks from all four of the bands studio albums but focuses heavily on latest effort, 2018’s ‘Hold On To Your Heart’. ‘Drive Me Wild’ and ‘Daydream’ from that album start us off and ease the audience into the show, before ‘Shaking in the Water’ really gets things moving.

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The Xcerts – ‘Daydream’

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That album is a masterpiece so fans are more than happy to hear multiple tracks from it. There is an audible delight however at the presence of two brand new songs in the set tonight. Both ‘Everything I Cannot Live Without’ and ‘Jealousy’ sound promising for more stunning work to come from the band.

The Xcerts deserve all the success in the world and the final run of ‘Show Me Beautiful’, ‘There Is Only You’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’, ‘Aberdeen 1987’ and ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ is a real testament to their quality.

There are great nights like this happening in every major city and town in the UK every night of the week. The venues these are happening in and the bands killing it onstage need your support now. If you are able to, get yourself to a show and ensure that when all our problems hopefully dissipate, we still have venues and bands to enjoy!

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Ash

O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

Sunday 18th September 2022

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ASH – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

Disillusioned and close to bankruptcy, it is fair to say that 2001’s ‘Free All Angels’, was a make or break record for Ash. Whilst debut album, ‘1977’, had hit the number one spot and made the band a household name, sophomore release, ‘Nu-Clear Sounds’ had seen the bands momentum stall.

Having seemingly hit rock bottom, a refreshed approach saw the band write and record what would be their saving grace, ‘Free All Angels’. Returning the band to the top of the charts, and serving as a springboard to greater success, it is again fair comment to say that the album rescued the group’s career.

This week has seen the band celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the album with three very special shows. Rejoined by guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, who departed the band in 2006, Ash have played the album in full first in Manchester, then Birmingham and finally tonight at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London.

On the eve of the funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, there is a perfectly observed minutes silence at 8pm.

Shortly thereafter opening act The Gulps take to the stage and do a suitable job of raising spirits and getting those in attendance ready for our headliners.

WATCH ‘SHINING LIGHT’ ON YOUTUBE
Ash – ‘Shining Light’

A mighty roar greets Ash and particularly Hatherley to the stage and the band proceed to play the entirety of ‘Free All Angels’. The quality of the record is borne out with opening trio, ‘Walking Barefoot’, ‘Shining Light’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’, with even frontman Tim Wheeler commenting on the run.

The singles, naturally, played a large role in the success of the album but it is the overall quality that ensures that remains as revered today as when released in 2001. ‘Candy’, ‘Someday’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘There’s A Star’ are all glorious before ‘World Domination’ brings the run though to a close.

This doesn’t end the evening however as Wheeler quips about making the most of their time with Hatherley, before introducing the first song that they worked on together, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’.

Ash are a fine live act, but tonight the addition of Hatherley really ratchets things up a notch or two. The added layers and intricacies level up the band and the likes of ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Clones’ sound absolutely huge tonight.

Towards the end of the night the band break out tracks such as ‘Numbskull’, ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Girl From Mars’ much to the delight of the audience.

WATCH ‘BURN BABY BURN’ ON YOUTUBE
Ash – ‘Burn Baby Burn’

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Tonight has been a reflection of a period of time not just for Ash but in British music. It’s an evening drenched in nostalgia but for those in the venue it’s all about the immediacy of the performance. It’s only fitting that a final airing of ‘Burn Baby Burn’ closes out what has been a successful celebration of a truly great album.

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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.

WATCH ‘PRODIGAL DAUGHTER’ ON YOUTUBE
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.

WATCH ‘FUKSTAR’ FROM WARGASM ON YOUTUBE
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’.

WATCH ENTER SHIKARI PLAY ‘{ THE DREAMER’S HOTEL }’ AT READING
Enter Shikari – { The Dreamer’s Hotel }’

Read our review of Enter Shikari live in London

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’

Read our review of ‘Skinty Fia’ from Fontaines D.C.

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.

WATCH WOLF ALICE PLAY ‘HOW CAN I MAKE IT OK?’ AT READING
Wolf Alice – ‘How Can I Make It OK?’

Read our review of Wolf Alice live in Norwich

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.

WATCH BRING ME THE HORIZON PLAY ‘BAD HABITS’ WITH ED SHEERAN AT READING
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.

Watch ‘Kerosene!’ from Yves Tumor on Youtube
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.

Watch ‘Clint Eastwood’ from Gorillaz on Youtube
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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Y Not Festival

Green View Farm, Pikehall

28th to 31st July 2022

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Y NOT FESTIVAL – LIVE REVIEW

Festival season is in full swing, the weather is warm, and the women are setting the standard for football, in many ways life is good. Of course in many other ways things are tough right now.

Music has always been an escape from reality, and we certainly need a distraction right now, so as Y Not Festival open their gates for the first time in three years, it’s time for tens of thousands of fans to let their hair down and celebrate. That is once they can actually get in, with some enormous queues upon entry dampening early spirits.

Now, the last and only time I attended Y Not Festival was the fateful 2017 event which ended in cancellation midway through. I wrote a scathing review for another publication and swore never to return.

Well, watching from a distance the festival has put out some stunning line-ups since then, and organisational changes appear to have improved things and returned the events reputation to pre-2017 levels. This year is in fact billed as their first year back as an independent festival.

Having decided to give the festival a second chance on the basis of their 2020 line-up, I’ve since witnessed the line-up change multiple times for the worse based on my personal preferences. There is no doubting however the overall quality of the line-up at a tough time for festivals.

I’m interested to see how the event will progress and whether it can change my opinion of the festival after the 2017 debacle, so the huge entry queues on Thursday and Friday aren’t the best start.

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Thankfully once inside, things pick up quickly! The general layout is well thought out in the main arena, with the main stage, the second stage (The Quarry) and numerous other attractions in the main section of the arena, and the third stage (The Giant Squid) and various other stages and attractions located in a smaller area.

This almost creates two distinct festival areas, with a busy walkway connecting them. The only issue here is that later on in each day this thoroughfare does bottleneck and makes movement very difficult. At one point on Sunday night, this reaches a near dangerous level as fans flood the area trying to catch an Oasis tribute band on one of the smaller stages.

Whilst I quite liked the two separate areas concept, in future additional access would need to be installed at the other end of the second area to avoid any disastrous incidents and make crowd movements flow better.

Now on to the music! Thursday is an add-on day and those to fork out and arrive early are given a splattering of acts to enjoy.

The first such act that we catch is Lucy Spraggan who does a great job in getting the audience into the spirit of things. Spraggan has the crowd singing along to the likes of The Proclaimers cover ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, and fan favourites ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’ and ‘Wait for Me’.

Next, The Hunna grace the main stage and also deliver a crowd pleasing set. The band’s momentum seems to have stalled slightly, but that upwards trajectory is set to relaunch if the reaction to new single, ‘Trash’, is anything to go by. ‘She’s Casual’ and ‘Bonfire’ serve as a reminder of what the band is capable of, and leaves the audience fully pumped up for our Thursday headliners.

WATCH ‘TRASH’ FROM THE HUNNA ON YOUTUBE
The Hunna – ‘Trash’

Those headliners are indie stalwarts The Kooks. The band have been celebrating their debut album, ‘Inside In/Inside Out’, whilst they have also recently released a new album, ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’. It’s no surprise then that 15 out of 21 songs tonight come from those two releases.

The new tracks manage to hold up well with the hits such as ‘Ooh La’, ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ and ‘Naïve’. All in all this equates to a fun headline show which sets the standard for the weekend to come.

Read our review of ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’ from The Kooks

Friday on paper is the best day musically for me heading in with a great mix of the new and established acts that Y Not Festival has managed to book so well.

It’s a new act we start with on the main stage as Lauran Hibberd brings her charismatic indie pop to Y Not Festival. The early risers are treated to a glimpse of a star in the making and those that make the effort don’t regret it. Hibberd’s debut album, ‘Garageband Superstar’ is out this month, and based on today’s showing it will be a breakthrough record.

Hibberd has featured previously on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist, and next we headed to the ‘Giant Squid’ stage for the first time to catch fellow playlist alumni Daytime TV.

Daytime TV showcase their incredible debut album, ‘Nothing’s On But Everyone’s Watching’, as they quickly blast out the likes of ‘We Can’t Be Friends’, ‘Hush’, ‘Ugly’ and ‘Zombie’. This is another band with a great future, and today they deliver the goods for the early crowd.

Watch our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests Daytime TV

‘Discover’ New Music Podcast – Episode 14 – Daytime TV

Continuing the run of fantastic young acts we catch MarthaGunn in the ‘Giant Squid’ and The Skinner Brothers in the ‘Allotment’. Two very different acts, but two more acts that make the very most of their time on stage, clearly winning over any fans not already converted.

We then return to the main stage for another newer act, but one that already feel established. The Snuts burst onto the scene with their debut album, ‘W.L.’, and have dominated festival stages this year. Today fans are treated to a look at what comes next with new songs ‘Burn the Empire’ and ‘Zuckerpunch’ sounding massive. Expect The Snuts to continue to climb festival bills over the next few years, and don’t be surprised when they are eventually headlining the likes of Y Not Festival.

Read our review of The Snuts live in Colchester

The Pale White continue what has been a consistently brilliant day of music with a powerful set in the ‘Giant Squid’, before we head to the ‘Quarry’ for the first time this weekend.

Festival favourite and all round legend Beans On Toast assembles a huge crowd for a sing-a-long session. The heralded folk singer serenades his crowd with favourites such as ‘The War on War’, ‘M.D.M.Amazing’ and ‘On & On’. Really, there should be a law that dictates that Beans On Toast appears at every single festival.

Watch The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Beans On Toast

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

Even before the major issues struck in 2017, one gripe I had about Y Not Festival was the apparent disorganisation in relation to set times. I worry next that perhaps this issue hasn’t been fixed as Manic Street Preachers fail to appear for their advertised start time. Eventually a message appears on the screens citing technical difficulties, and the band finally arrive almost an hour late on stage.

Read our review of Manic Street Preachers live in Cambridge

This of course has a knock on effect to our headliners Stereophonics, and also means when the Manics do arrive, they quickly depart again only playing for half their originally scheduled time. The technical difficulties seemingly continue to dog the band throughout their short time on stage, which causes more set changes on the fly. A lesser band may have given up, but Manic Street Preachers force their way through.

Read our review of Stereophonics live in Cambridge

Stereophonics are a safe bet as a festival headliner, guaranteed to deliver the goods and give the audience a good time. That’s exactly what they do to close out Friday night, with a set mixed of hits and deep cuts from throughout their distinguished career.

The double header of of Welsh icons Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics was a major selling point for many fans, so it’s disappointing that the technical issues leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Saturday soon arrives and we start off on the main stage for another double header of established acts. The Futureheads and Levellers bring the crowds in early as the festival rights the wrongs of last night. Both bands deliver solid sets which the audience lap up, and the party is in full swing as we head deeper into Saturday afternoon.

We refocus next however back to the fresh new acts that help to make this festival so appealing. Do Nothing, King No-One and the excellent The Mysterines all draw big crowds to the ‘Giant Squid’ stage and all three acts are able to produce perfect festival sets to the delight of the packed tent.

Read our review of The Mysterines live in London

Sea Girls are one of the bands leading the new wave of indie and they are next up on the main stage, where they are greeted by an army of their fans. The band and fans then reciprocate energy for the next forty-five minutes and the result is a very enjoyable watch.

Our Saturday night is then spent back in the ‘Giant Squid’ for two bands that personify the festival. First up is a hot new band on the cusp of greatness in the form of Yard Act. This is a band that has been touring solidly and making a name for themselves. Today they put the spotlight on debut album, ‘The Overload’, which gets the entire tent bouncing along.

Read our review of ‘The Overload’ from Yard Act

Lastly is an established act of indie folklore, We Are Scientists! The band finish out the night with a fan pleasing set full of favourites such as ‘It’s A Hit’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’.

WATCH ‘THE GREAT ESCAPE’ FROM WE ARE SCIENTISTS ON YOUTUBE
We Are Scientists – ‘The Great Escape’

It’s during this time that the heavens open for the first time. Back in 2017 it was the Saturday night when the festival organisers decided enough was enough, come Sunday morning the last day was cancelled and a disorderly evacuation of the site commenced.

One massive criticism of the event that year was a lack of foresight with heavy rain predicted well in advance, the site saw little or no preparation for the weather. It’s great this year then that prior to the rainfall we see straw spread at key points in the arena.

The result is that despite a night of rain, the arena is still in good nick come Sunday morning and we are able to continue with the high quality entertainment. Kudos then to the present organisers for taking proactive action rather than waiting until the horse has already bolted!

So, onto my first Y Not Festival Sunday! We again are on the hunt for new talent early on and catch both Marty and Cucamaras in the ‘Quarry’ and Baby Queen capturing the imagination of the main stage. All three showing that the future is bright.

Sunday really sinks it teeth in on the main stage with back to back performances from Amy MacDonald and Jake Bugg. Two more established acts with stacked back catalogues, two more artists that are able to deliver polished and well received sets as the shine really starts to break through.

After some sing-a-long action with MacDonald and Bugg, it’s back to the fantastic new music offerings as The Hara and Rews in the ‘Giant Squid’, and Vistas and Dream Wife in the ‘Quarry’ all deliver blistering performances which really rile up the audience.

Soon there is a great moment on the main stage where The Vaccines get to announce the incredible result of the Football mid-set. The atmosphere is electric as fans celebrate with more great music.

For us that great music sees us conclude our weekend back in the ‘Giant Squid’, firstly with Blood Red Shoes, who have released one of the albums of the year in ‘Ghosts On Tape’. Their belated set is an intense and ferocious explosion of rock which instantly enters the race for performance of the weekend.

Read our review of ‘Ghosts on Tape’ from Blood Red Shoes

Watch The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guests Blood Red Shoes

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 4 – Blood Red Shoes

That honour is hotly contested as across four days of music we somehow haven’t seen a bad performance. The pure quality on offer despite the multiple line-up changes since 2020 is a testament of the work of the booking team for Y Not Festival.

The last band of the weekend for us is Black Honey, who decide that the crown for set of the weekend belongs to them. They deliver an energetic yet majestic performance that is the perfect way to end what has been a great weekend.

Read our review of Black Honey live in Norwich

I must admit scepticism coming into the event, and whilst I hoped that a great weekend would be had, I wasn’t sure. The organisers have rectified the issues of 2017 and have earned themselves a clean slate from me.

Whether you just want to chill at the main stage, or go hunting for the best kept secrets in the tents, Y Not Festival had it all this year. The ghosts of the past have been put to bed by the acts of the future!

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Categories
Live Reviews

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’!

WATCH ‘SCRIPTVRE’ FROM KASABIAN ON YOUTUBE
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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Read our review of ‘C’MON YOU KNOW’ from Liam Gallagher