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Live Reviews

Creeper

O2 Kentish Town Forum, London

Wednesday 15th December 2021

Creeper

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CREEPER – O2 KENTISH TOWN FORUM – LIVE REVIEW

Since leaving their Callous Heart jackets on the KOKO stage back in November 2018 the normally well thought out plans of Creeper have hit road block after road block.

With their second record arriving during lockdown, this tumultuous period appeared to be ending with their arrival of their previously postponed headline tour. Alas, the show tonight at the O2 Kentish Town Forum in London takes place amid more uncertainty as the pandemic rages on.

Support act Wargasm are unable to play due to COVID and many of the sold out crowd clearly are also missing. The night should be a celebration, but the atmosphere is cautious, there is an impending sense of doom.

Music though is the great equaliser and can take away all of life’s worries, even if only for a while. Opening act Static Dress do a fantastic job of raising spirits and blowing away doubts. The crowd are instantly sucked in and the band capitalise on their short time on stage superbly. Crowd definitely warmed up!

With no Wargasm, it’s straight onto main support for this tour, Holding Absence. Having released one of the albums of the year in ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’, anticipation is high for their set. Over the next 30 minutes the band lives up to all of the hype that comes their way.  

An assured and uplifting performance from a band on a massive spike in upwards trajectory. ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’ close out a short but very sweet set which captures the hearts of those in attendance. It shouldn’t be long before Holding Absence are headlining venues of this size.

Listen to ‘Afterlife’ from Holding Absence on our Spotify Hot List!

Our headliners tonight however are Creeper. The band have battled adversity to arrive at their biggest headline show. Their cult following are out in force, even if the attendance drop reported by the Music Venue Trust is in evidence. The night has a special feel, and if any band can meet the high expectations then it’s Creeper.

Musically stunning and theatrically spectacular, Creeper take their audience on a journey of delight. From the time they arrive on stage to the moment they leave, Creeper exude confidence. This show builds on everything the band has presented since their inception and makes a statement. This is a band at the peak of their powers. This is the celebration that it needed to be.

A mixture of material features from across their career from their debut EP to recent release ‘American Noir’. The evolution of the band is clear for all to see, and so is the effort put into the show.

Read our review of ‘American Noir’ from Creeper

It may have taken slightly longer than expected to arrive at this level of venue, but on this showing Creeper are still on course to progress into even bigger buildings. This tour is a master class from the purveyors of grandiose rock and roll theatrics. Let’s hope that Creeper now get a clear run towards their destiny.

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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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Live Reviews

The Offspring

Wembley Arena

Friday 26th November 2021

The Offspring

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THE OFFSPRING – WEMBLEY ARENA – LIVE REVIEW

As soon as The Offspring announced an arena tour with The Hives in tow, an evening of early 2000’s rock scene nostalgia was destined. With the walk down Wembley Way lit with Christmas lights, with festive music playing, a fantastic Friday night in London is in store. We just won’t mention the tube strike!

Whilst nostalgia is at the heart of the evening, we start off with something new, vital and refreshing. Bob Vylan are earning their stripes. They’ve jumped onto this tour straight from supporting Biffy Clyro last month, and they’ve just announced a headline tour for next year.

Our advice following their performance tonight is to get your tickets for said headline tour as soon as possible. Enjoy them in small venues while you can, because they belong on stages like Wembley Arena. Their politically charged punk ruckus is guaranteed to elicit a reaction one way or the other. Tonight the overwhelming majority are on board and the likes of ‘Pretty Songs’ and ‘GDP’ showcase a band with a big future.

Main support for this tour comes from The Hives, generally understood to be an incredible live act. Thankfully nothing has changed during the enforced lay-off of the past two years.

With their time on stage relatively short the band blast out their biggest hits such as ‘Main Offender’, ‘Walk Idiot Walk’, ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ and ‘Tick Tick Boom’ to the delight of the crowd. Our headliners will need to be at the top of their game in order to match the brilliance of The Hives.

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

Things start well for The Offspring with ‘Staring at the Sun’, ‘Come Out and Play’ and ‘Want You Bad’ immediately getting the audience riled up. A visually simple yet stunning stage show also helps to fill the huge space of Wembley Arena and make the band seem at home on such a stage.

Whilst that word nostalgia keeps coming up, The Offspring are actually touring a new album and up next two new tracks demonstrate the quality that the band is still putting out. ‘The Opioid Diaries’ and title track ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ are received just as well as the older tracks ‘Hit That’, ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Bad Habit’ that follow.

WATCH ‘LET THE BAD TIMES ROLL’ ON YOUTUBE
The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll

The question of whether The Offspring can match or eclipse The Hives is already positively answered by the time we are treated to an incredible piano version of fan favourite ‘Gone Away’.

The closing run of ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job?’, ‘Original Prankster’, ‘(Can’t Get My) Head Around You’, ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ and ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ is as good as it gets and vindicates the bands decision to play arenas on this tour.

The encore of ‘You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid’ and ‘Self Esteem’ is the cherry on the icing of a beautiful cake that is made from three superb performances from Bob Vylan, The Hives and The Offspring. This was a thoroughly enjoyable show, which celebrates both the present and future of punk rock.

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Live Reviews

Idlewild

Electric Brixton, London

Sunday 21st November 2021

Idlewild

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IDLEWILD – ELECTRIC BRIXTON – LIVE REVIEW

“..how does it feel to be three years late?..” – ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’, Idlewild

One knock on effect of the pandemic, albeit insignificant in the greater scheme of things yet incredibly grinding to music anoraks, is the issue of Anniversary Tours. With many such as tonight’s now out of sync. Idlewild may not be three years late, but their 25th Anniversary Tour is now in fact their not so poignant 26th Anniversary Tour!

That doesn’t temper the anticipation from the groups die-hard following with tonight sold out in advance and, even with no support act, Electric Brixton fills up early to await their heroes.

That is exactly how they are greeted when they arrive onstage and launch straight into ‘Dream Variations’, ‘Roseability’ and ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’. This sets the rest of the night up perfectly as the band celebrate every album throughout the next incredible two hours of music.

WATCH ‘DREAM VARIATIONS’ ON YOUTUBE
Idlewild – ‘Dream Variations’

Naturally for such a tour, nostalgia is prominent throughout the evening and it’s fantastic to see early mainstay bassist Bob Fairfoull joining the band on numerous older tracks throughout the evening. Whilst all the big hits as it were are in the mix, there are also some rarer tracks which help to make the evening feel special.

Idlewild have always been a stunning live band and tonight is truly a pinch yourself moment; how can this band remain this good after 26 years!  The fans certainly help, as they get more and more animated as the evening progresses.

Throughout the show you wait for the momentum to slow, for a track to fall flat, but the quality tonight is relentless. It’s therefore hard to pick highlights but ‘Little Discourage’, ‘Love Steals Us From Loneliness’, ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ and ‘El Capitan’ naturally elicit jubilation from the crowd.

The likes of ‘Collect Yourself’, ‘Everyone Says You’re So Fragile’, ‘A Ghost In The Arcade’ and ‘These Wooden Ideas’ however are equally cherished. By the time the main set concludes with ‘The Modern Way of Letting Go’ and ‘American English’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that the night has peaked.

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What immediately follows however is a real treat for old school fans as the iconic four piece version of the line-up grace the stage for early track, ‘Self Healer’. They are gradually joined by the rest of the current band as they plough through fellow early numbers ‘4 People Do Good’ and ‘Captain’.

Once again, you’d be ecstatic to finish it there, however Idlewild treat fans to  ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ and ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction’ to deliver a truly epic finale. But much like the MCU now delivers two post-credits scenes, Idlewild still have one last parting shot for the packed crowd.

Whereas those scenes usually preview the future, Idlewild return for a final encore of old favourite ‘A Film For The Future’. After 26 years tonight feels like the epic final battle against Thanos. The hope though is that it simply means that we are entering the next phase for a treasured band.

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Read our review of ‘CRAWLER’ from IDLES

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Live Reviews

Biffy Clyro

O2 Kentish Town Forum, London

Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Biffy Clyro

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It’s been a long road for Biffy Clyro to arrive at the O2 Kentish Town Forum in London, and I’m not talking about the M1 from their last show in Sheffield!

The band released their album, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ in August 2020 (which itself was delayed from May), having announced an arena tour to promote it, only to cancel said tour in the wake of the pandemic.

Subsequently the ‘Fingers Crossed’ tour of intimate venues was announced in the hope that live music would return in time. Sadly, this was also postponed from April until now. In the meantime the band even managed to record and release another album with ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’ arriving last month.

Read our review of ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’

Well after two albums, a cancelled tour and a postponement we are finally here, but up first is our support act. That act is the incredible Bob Vylan, a band who have created a lot of talk over the opening dates. Their politically-charged punk rock anthems have proven somewhat divisive thus far amongst the Biffy Clyro fanbase.

Tonight the duo are in their hometown and the crowd are overwhelmingly onside. They are treated to an energy-filled and impassioned performance from one of the hottest new acts around. The likes of ‘Northern Line’, ‘Pretty Songs’ and ‘We Live Here’ showcase their talents and get the bodies moving tonight. A great set from a band I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more from for one reason or another!

Finally, it’s then time for Biffy Clyro to grace what is now a very intimate stage for the mammoth rockers.  After performing their latest album in full on the first night of the tour, the band has settled into a more traditional setlist for the subsequent dates. It is however two songs from that album that commence proceedings as ‘DumDum’ and ‘A Hunger in Your Haunt’ kick things off.

WATCH ‘A HUNGER IN YOUR HAUNT’ & ‘UNKNOWN MALE 01’ ON YOUTUBE
Biffy Clyro – ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt / Unknown Male 01’

You’d not know that live music had vanished for nigh-on two years. Tonight Biffy Clyro are on top form and the well-oiled machine runs as if it has been on track the whole time. The audience respond in kind and are also on top form, which helps to create a magical atmosphere.

Biffy Clyro are a relentless artist both live and on record. Tonight the newer tracks such as ‘North of No South’, ‘Instant History’, ‘Unknown Male 01’, ‘End Of’ and ‘Space’ fit perfectly with fan favourites like ‘Biblical’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Machines’ and ‘Wolves of Winter’.

The way that the band is able to control an audience, building slowly before exploding is unteachable. The band are in their natural state as they finish off the set with ‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Many of Horror’ to the delight of those in attendance.

An obligatory encore of ‘Black Chandelier’ and ‘Cop Syrup’ is enough to send the crowd home happy, remind us of what we’ve been missing and lay claim to the fact that Biffy Clyro are one of the best live acts on the planet. Most definitely worth the wait!

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