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.
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!
Welcome one and all to another edition of our weekly music News Report, where we roundup the best news from the past week. We start off this week with the best tour announcements.
Up first are Shinedown who have announced a UK Tour for later this year which will include a date at Wembley Arena. Support comes from Asking Alexandria and Zero 9:36.
Frontman Brent Smith states, “We have always been inspired by the UK and European audiences. Their passion for music is extraordinary. We are beyond excited to be returning as headliners, with our biggest show yet!”
“We are overwhelmed by the love and support of our new album, ‘Planet Zero’ and look forward to sharing our new songs, along with all of your Shinedown favorites!!! Cheers!!!”
Inglorious will also be touring later this year with a lengthy trek planned in across the UK. Support comes from A New Tomorrow.
Frontman, Nathan James, comments “I am so excited to get back out on tour with the guys . Over the pandemic we were not able to tour as much as we usually would, but we were able to release albums. So we did! We recorded the We Will Ride album, The Heroine all female covers album and the 1st ever Inglorious live album and dvd. It’s amazing now to be able to pick songs from all of those albums to make the ultimate inglorious set.
On this tour we will be bringing something totally different set wise and we’re really looking forward to playing songs from across all of our albums. Inglorious has always been a strong live act and now more so than ever. Tighter, harder and more determined to show people what we are about.
We hope to see everyone on the “Until We Die 2022 UK Tour” and cannot wait make some noise for you all again.”
Burn It Down Festival takes over Torquay again this September and the event has confirmed their stacked line-up for this year.
Headliners Trash Boat and Deaf Havana will be joined by the likes of Static Dress, Our Hollow Our Home, Haggard Cat, Cassyette, VUKOVI, Tigercub, Salem, As December Falls, Death Blooms, Pupil Slicer and more.
LIFE continue to gear up for the release of ‘North East Coastal Town’ on August 19th. You can listen to their new single, ‘The Drug’, above.
Speaking on the new single vocalist Mez Green says: “The Drug is a love song. I wrote the lyrics in the cold mountains of Italy before taking them into the room with the band. ‘The Drug’ I needed has always been here, the drug I needed has always been near” is, for me, realising that loved ones and those that love you, no matter where you are, can always be present.
I’d never really believed this before and whilst this purity is at the lyrical heart of the song musically the band decided to inject flecks of dance, pop, harmonics, and dirty pulses to give the song drive, repetition and jerk-ability.”
Norway’s Sløtface return with the news that the group’s figurehead Haley Shea will now be leading the band, with Lasse and Tor-Arne leaving to focus on new passions outside the group.
To signal this era beginning they have released a double a-side of ‘Beta’, and ‘Come Hell Or Whatever’. You Can listen to ‘Beta’ above.
“”Beta” was the very first song Mikhael and I worked on together in his studio. It should be listened to while wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days!
The song is about wanting to connect with people on a deeper level, but feeling like social media sometimes gets in the way, with things becoming somewhat intimidating, shallow and superficial. The song is a confidence booster for myself where I’m trying to be cooler than I am. It was written at a time when I really, really missed the rush of playing live, and I needed to find some of that spark and edge in myself that only really comes out on stage.”
Finally, this week Twister shared their latest single, ‘Own Worst Enemy’, which you can listen to above.
Singer and guitarist Stevie Stoker comments: “Twister are evolving and progressing with every release and the momentum we’re building on the road is really driving us to bigger and better things in the studio. It’s such an exciting time.”
Indie rock band Sunsleeper have shared their newest track, ‘Blemishes’.
“’Blemishes’ is about the slow unraveling of a deeply important friendship, as well as the acceptance of the relationship’s end,” shares vocalist Jeffery Mudgett. “The freedom in letting go of a toxic relationship is underrated. Sometimes there’s no need to mourn the end, but rather we should celebrate leaving that toxicity behind.”
cheerbleederz – ‘notes app apologies’
London indie punk trio cheerbleederz reveal their latest single ‘notes app apologies’.
Commenting on the track and video, the band say: “This song is about letting go of an abusive relationship. There’s a lot of fear and doubt that comes with separating yourself from somebody who manipulates you, and it leaves behind feelings of anger, as well as guilt and doubt.
You end up questioning everything while simultaneously harbouring a lot of resentment for the person who treated you that way. We wanted this song to feel cathartic and unapologetic—it ultimately feels very healing.”
MODES – ‘Infamous’
Kent’s MODES deliver their new single, ‘Infamous’.
MODES frontman Ted Berry reveals that the new single“Infamous is a song we wrote to reflect on anger and past trauma that we have experienced. We wanted to put this into words to help others feel understood and seen. It’s only human to have been in situations that lead to feeling hurt, angry, and even disappointed in how you have been treated by others.”
It’s Friday night in Norwich and the area around the Arts Centre is vibrant with pubs, bars and restaurants full of people (plus lots of people queuing for fuel but let’s not get started on that!). Yes, nightlife is back after a devastating 18 months.
Independent music venues and musicians have been hit hard but now we are gathering together in rooms again, things feel like they are healing. The Music Venue Trust continue their amazing work to protect our cultural spaces and tonight is part of the trusts #ReviveLive shows.
On offer is a fantastic band who this year released their second album, Black Honey. There is a very good chance that ‘Written & Directed’ will trouble the very top of our album of the year list when that time arrives. It’s therefore great to see these songs performed in the beautiful and intimate surrounds of Norwich Arts Centre.
Opening the festivities this evening is Frances Lion whose hauntingly good support slot captivates the audience. Lion serenades those in attendance with her unique take on the singer-songwriter genre. By the end of her performance the crowd are begging for more, which as an opening act is all you want.
The attention of the audience is soon able to turn to our headliners Black Honey. This is a band that has worked hard to build a solid reputation as a live act. They get the crowd moving from the very start as ‘I Like The Way You Die’, ‘All My Pride’ and ‘Beaches’ set the standard for the evening.
WATCH ‘BEACHES’ ON YOUTUBE
The band has managed to create an extremely impressive back catalogue during their short career which means that they already have tough choices to make when picking a setlist. Tonight is a fine balance between their self-titled debut album and ‘Written & Directed’.
The performance flows naturally and builds momentum throughout. Earlier tracks such as ‘I Only Hurt the Ones I Love’, ‘Somebody Better’ and ‘Cadillac’ segue perfectly with new favourites ‘Summer ’92’, ‘Believer’ and ‘Fire’.
Black Honey are able to hold the audience in the palm of their hands. Their hard work and constant touring has paid off in full, because this is a very good live act. The final run of ‘Spinning Wheel’, ‘Hello Today’, ‘Disinfect’ and ‘Run For Cover’ demonstrate this perfectly.
As the fans head out into the warm September night they are left to reminisce on a superb evening of music (and where they can get some fuel!).