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Live Reviews

Twin Atlantic

Norwich Waterfront

Wednesday 18th August 2021

Twin Atlantic Norwich Waterfront Live Review

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TWIN ATLANTIC – NORWICH WATERFRONT – LIVE REVIEW

It may be an overcast summers evening, but for tonight all is right with the world. That’s because there is a queue waiting outside The Waterfront, Norwich for the first time in around 18 months.

On offer this evening for the venues first main room show since the beginning of the pandemic is a special Music Venue Trust & National Lottery #ReviveLive show featuring Twin Atlantic!

There is a late change of support act for the evening with Lucia & The Best Boys unable to attend. Step up local band The Islas who recently featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist!

LISTEN TO OUR ‘DISCOVER’ NEW MUSIC PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY!

This is quite the result as The Islas deliver a great set to a receptive audience. With the likes of recent single ‘The Absence of You’ joining older tracks ‘Back of Your Neck’, ‘Aileen’ and ‘Close’ the band are building an impressive live set. And with performances such as tonight’s they will also be building an impressive fan base, with many in the venue won over.

Tonight, though is all about our headliners Twin Atlantic who just released a new single, ‘Bang On The Gong’, and what better way to kick off their set. If the band think their new track is well received, those in attendance continue to build their appreciation throughout the night.

We recently caught the band at the Download Pilot Festival so know that they are an incredible live act. But, put the band in a sweaty little venue with a full set and they are up there with the best.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

The rest of the setlist is a carefully crafted selection from across their albums with fan favourite ‘Free’ getting the lions share. The title track, ‘Make a Beast of Myself’, ‘Edit Me’, ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ and an emotive ‘Crash Land’ sing-a-long showcase the albums quality.

There is quality across their catalogue however and ‘No Sleep’, ‘Hold On’, ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and ‘The Chaser’ all naturally receive big reactions from the crowd.

CHECK OUT THE FULL PELT MUSIC PODCAST

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly though, some of the best tracks of the evening and most warmly welcomed come from their 2020 release ‘Power’. Coming weeks before the first lockdown, now represents the first real chance for the band to embed the tracks into their show.

The likes of ‘Volcano’, ‘Oh! Euphoria!’, ‘Novocaine’ and ‘Barcelona’ all slot in seamlessly as Twin Atlantic blow off the cobwebs and begin their latest era.

With their anthem ‘Heart and Soul’ seeing the night out, the fans are left to wander out into the now slightly chilly Norwich night. As they do so they will be reflecting on the return of live music, and also on just how great a live band Twin Atlantic have become!

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Read our review of ‘Pressure Machine’ from The Killers

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Live Reviews

Frank Turner

Coda, Colchester

Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th August 2021

Frank Turner Coda Colchester

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FRANK TURNER – CODA, COLCHESTER – LIVE REVIEW

Having already attended and reviewed the Download Pilot Festival and Seasick Steve since the reopening of the live music sector, we want to stop referencing the pandemic. The problem is that nights like the two that Frank Turner serves up at Coda in Colchester simply act a reminder of what has been missing for the past almost 18 months.

Thankfully, mercifully, cautiously, live music is back. For two consecutive evenings, fans cram into the awesome independent venue in Colchester known as Coda. The reason? If any opportunity for a gig isn’t excuse enough, the one and only Mr. Turner is introducing himself to an area of the country he now calls home.

Whilst more likely to be found in much larger venues these days, Turner still has the grassroots familiarity to instigate a hot, sweaty drunken sing-a-long session. Everybody packed into this bar knows every word to every song and passionately sings them back in unison. It’s like live music never went away.

Playing the two shows in the same venue, Turner mixes his set list each night. Realistically the man has enough in his arsenal to cover many more nights here, as he demonstrated with his Independent Venue Love series during Lockdown.

Read our feature on the ‘Independent Venue Love’ series

All the fan favourites are on tap for those in the bar with ‘Long Live The Queen’, ‘1933’, ‘The Road’, ‘The Way I Tend To Be’, ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’, ‘Be More Kind’, ‘The Next Storm’, ‘Photosynthesis’, ‘Recovery’, ‘Get Better’ and set closer ‘I Still Believe’ amongst the songs available both nights.

The guest ales such as ‘Polaroid Picture’ and ‘If Ever I Stray’ on Tuesday and ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’, ‘I Am Disappeared’ and ‘Four Simple Words’ on Wednesday help to differentiate the shows for those in attendance both nights.

Having started out his solo career on his own (and still performing solo regularly), Turner is now often accompanied by The Sleeping Souls. In recent times solo shows have been billed as duo shows and see Turner joined by Sleeping Soul member Matt Nasir. This dynamic works extremely well both for musical accompaniment and also for onstage banter.

As mentioned, Turner now resides in Essex. He has a song called ‘Wessex Boy’. Yes, he did the obvious switch, which for every other artist would have been incredibly tacky, but somehow for Turner here it works and elicits a proudly fierce reaction from the crowd.

THE FULL PELT MUSIC PODCAST

Check out Episode 1 of our Podcast with guest Frank Turner

A new album is on the horizon for Turner and over the two nights fans are treated to glimpses of the record in the shape of ‘The Work’, ‘Muhammad Ali’, ‘Little Life’, ‘Fatherless’ and new single ‘The Gathering’.  There certainly appears to be plenty more to come from an artist for whom their next album will be their ninth solo effort.

The future appears bright. Over two nights the stage was graced by four support acts with bright futures with Wilswood Buoys and Jess Guise on Tuesday and Gin Twins and Josiah Mortimer on Wednesday all impressing the packed audience.

So, yes, the future does indeed appear bright. Bright for Turner, bright for a great new venue, bright for young musicians, and bright for live music! There really isn’t anything better.

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Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. Read the latest here

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Live Reviews

Seasick Steve

Norwich Arts Centre

Wednesday 21st July 2021

Seasick Steve Norwich Arts Centre

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SEASICK STEVE – NORWICH ARTS CENTRE – LIVE REVIEW

It has been a devastating 16 months for humanity. Every country, every community and every industry has suffered profound and unprecedented loss. The fact remains that we are far from free, the p word is still ongoing and we must be careful.

There is however hope, just a glimmer that some form of normality or dare we say a “new normal” could be possible. The music industry has been decimated over the past year or so, but it is the music industry now that is offering us hope.

We recently attended the Download Pilot Festival and saw a preview of how live music can return. There was testing involved, masks in certain situations, extra sanitisation and a sense of community that only live music brings.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

Now it is time to head indoors again. The Music Venue Trust has always done an incredible job, but that has been amplified by the events of the last year or so. The organisation has now teamed up with The National Lottery to help to #ReviveLive.

They aim to help the return of music fans to music venues across the country and ticket holders can bring a Lottery playing friend in for free. Tonight feels special for so many reasons. The first gig back would always be special but by putting an act the size of Seasick Steve into the intimate surrounds of the beautiful Norwich Arts Centre only ramps the feeling right up!

Entry is smooth, fans have been encouraged to take Lateral Flow tests, there is hand sanitizer aplenty and masks are encouraged in certain areas. Attendees are respectful of each other and of the significance of the evening.

Read our review of ‘Lo! Soul’ from Roddy Woomble

The atmosphere truly is special, and it is a special talent here to entertain us. With no support, Seasick Steve and his trusted companion on drums enter the stage at half past eight just after an emotional welcome from the venue director.

Seasick Steve is a captivating artist at the best of times, but tonight he truly has the audience in the palm of his hand. Despite lingering fears of being part of a gathering and despite the intense heat inside the venue, there is nowhere else you’d want to be.

Fans are regaled with tales of Steve’s life and serenaded with his signature blues numbers. The likes of ‘Roy’s Gang’, ‘Walkin’ Man’, ‘Barracuda ’68’ and ‘Dark’ are highlights before Seasick Steve sends fans home with ‘Thunderbird’ after nearly two beautiful hours.

It’s an incredible feeling to be able to head out into the night, sweaty and reminiscing on a stunning evening of music once again. It’s an experience that has been missing for too long, but it is back.

There are a plethora of dates and artists performing this series of MVT shows. Do yourself and your local venue a favour, grab a ticket, take a test and enjoy the return of live music!

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Live Reviews

Download Pilot Festival 2021

Donington Park

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th June 2021

Download Pilot Festival Poster

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DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL 2021 – LIVE REVIEW

The live music industry is built on togetherness, built on shared experience and built on the power of emotion. The last 18 months have been highly emotional for all the wrong reasons. Together the world has shared an experience that has terrified and devastated us.

The events of the last 18 months have taken an incomprehensible toll on humanity. The pandemic has destroyed lives and livelihoods. The live music industry was obliterated overnight. The people that make the spectacles that we enjoy happen were forgotten about.

While the world attempts to peek through the curtains at a “new normal”, the live music industry is left waiting. Waiting for support, waiting for proper guidance, waiting for a chance. Well, just four weeks ago that chance arrived.

A Government trial event to test the viability of the return of packed festivals and events you say? Spring into action the incredible people behind the scenes who make the live music industry work! In a short period of time, heaven and earth have been moved and here we are at Download Festival.

A much smaller, makeshift, Pilot version of Download Festival at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. 10,000 people in a field, no social distancing, no masks, no inhibitions.

Credit goes to all involved for creating an event of that scale on such short notice, and to all the acts playing with no preparation. As the gates open, one thing is for sure, the fans want this, no, the fans needs this.

The reality of the situation is that the organisers could have put an old man playing the spoons on stage and the fans would have lapped it up. The opportunity after all that everybody has been through to witness live music is cathartic.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – FRIDAY

The fact that this may be the most exciting Download Festival line-up of all time only helps to amplify the anticipation as fans gather in the tented second stage for Death Blooms. Almost every person on site crams in to witness that first taste of live music in far too long.

The band make the most of the atmosphere with a storming set that sees the audience let go of all remaining inhibitions. I doubt the majority of those in the tent knew of the band in advance, but they certainly left with a memory that will last forever.

For this special event there are just two stages. Next to the tent is the outdoor main stage which opens with a raucous set from Hot Milk. Kicking off with their latest single ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ the band show the crowd just what they’ve been missing.

Listen to ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ from Hot Milk on our Spotify Hot List!

There is no need to worry about those dreaded clashes at Download Pilot Festival. That’s because the acts on the two stages alternate, allowing the music starved fans the opportunity to watch every single band if they so wish to.

Every band this weekend gets a good sized crowd and a warm reception with it, especially the early bands on Friday. Malevolence are next to grace the second stage and assist the audience in releasing their pent up energy with a heavy hitting set.

A repercussion of the pandemic has been the amazing new albums that have been released without the showcase of the live setting. One such album is ‘Glue’ from Boston Manor. That wrong is righted next however as the band storm the main stage and air the likes of ‘Everything Is Ordinary’.

An early standout performance from the band sees them mix new and old with ‘England’s Dreaming’, ‘Laika’ and ‘Halo’ eliciting some of the first full blown sing-a-long moments of the weekend.

Those sing-a-long moments continue with Holding Absence on the second stage as they get to unleash tracks from their sensational album ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’. ‘Afterlife’ in particular is a contender for song of the weekend as the band present their credentials for superstardom!

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

The Friday action continues with two bands with extremely dedicated fanbases. Neck Deep get the main stage bouncing before Sleep Token captivate the second stage.

It is then down to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to bring the first day to a close on the main stage. Always an unstoppable force of nature on stage, the band make the most of the platform to make a statement. That statement says that this band is ready to headline the regular event.

With a setlist spanning their three albums, the band even treat fans to a selection of new tracks including the catchy ‘My Town’. There are guest appearances from Joe Talbot, Cassyette and Lynks, there is a giant circle pit around the sound tower and there is even a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes saw an opportunity to headline a festival, to headline the first festival back, and they grabbed it with both hands. This was one of those sets that will be talked about forevermore!

Listen to ‘My Town’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on our Spotify Hot List!

After hours entertainment comes from a silent disco as the hastily arranged festival shows the skills and creativity of the music industry. You have to stand back and admire the achievement of those involved to create an event on this scale in the time given.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SATURDAY

On to Saturday now and the musical delights continue as Lotus Eater, Conjurer, As Everything Unfolds and Bleed From Within blow the cobwebs of the early morning audience.

Next two young bands with big futures introduce themselves to festival audiences. Both The Hara on the second stage and Wargasm on the main stage elicit strong reactions from those watching.

Listen to ‘Your Patron Saints’ from Wargasm on our Spotify Hot List!

After a solid showing from Tigercub, one of the veteran acts of the weekend, A, school the up and coming bands on how to engage an audience. An age appropriate walking circle pit being a nice change of pace in the midst of a hectic weekend. Finishing with ‘Nothing’, A show why they are the perfect festival band.

Two things become apparent as the weekend progresses. When dissecting the hastily put together line-up, the quality of British rock music is put in the spotlight and it more than holds its own. Secondly a good deal of that talent is female. Vukovi and Yonaka both deliver set of the weekend contenders next.

Listen to ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka on our Spotify Hot List!

Those Damn Crows, Twin Atlantic and Stone Broken all put in crowd pleasing performances before While She Sleeps attract and entertain a huge crowd on the main stage.

Soon though it’s time for the scorecard for band of the weekend to be thrown out the window. Creeper are able to deliver an out of body experience as they headline the second stage. There are goosebump raising moments galore as the band turn the festival into their own theatre of oral and visual magnificence.

Listen to ‘Midnight’ from Creeper on our Spotify Hot List!

It is then left to Enter Shikari to bring the Saturday night party and they don’t disappoint. If there was ever a band born to get you moving it’s Enter Shikari. They do just that as they also get to showcase newer songs live for the first time.

‘satellites**’, ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ fit in perfectly with classics like ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Juggernauts’ and ‘Mothership’. Much like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Creeper, you can see the special treatment Enter Shikari have given this opportunity and that makes for a stunning spectacle.

DOWNLOAD PILOT FESTIVAL – SUNDAY

Come Sunday you’d imagine fatigue would be setting in. All this action after so many barren months, you could forgive the crowd for tiring and the festival atmosphere sapping. Instead energy is pumped in by bands such as Static Dress, Saint Agnes, Cassyette and Employed To Serve.

The fans reciprocate said energy as they continue to let loose to Chubby and the Gang, Loathe and Higher Power. The passion and pure joy of both fans and musicians to be at a festival is at times overwhelming. This event was destined to be an emotive affair but even through that emotion the quality of the music on offer shines.

Next on the main stage is Lonely The Brave complete with change in singer. A set mixed with fan favourites and new tracks from ‘The Hope List’ shows the band are still an exciting prospect. Can the band now finally take that next step? On their showing here, yes they can!

Read our review of ‘The Hope List’ from Lonely The Brave

For those fans catching every band the pace is relentless and it’s to the second stage next for Jamie Lenman. Lenman powers through a sublime set that gets the crowd moving and features another appearance from Wargasm.

The quirky goodness of Elvana attracts a huge crowd to the main stage as the festival heads towards its climax. The band show just why they are perhaps the perfect Sunday afternoon festival act as they get the crowd singing along to every word.

Massive Wagons are able to take the second stage by storm before a sadly technically challenged The Wildhearts limp off stage. The Wildhearts are a top quality band and the issues with their sound perhaps show the effects of an enforced hiatus for musicians and crew members alike.

It’s on that note that once again praise must be heaped on the organisers, the crew members, the festival staff and yes the bands for making this event such a success. That is only amplified by the incredibly short timescale.

Realistically this has been a once in a lifetime event (we hope). Download Pilot Festival as an event is excellent and would be a great addition to the main Download Festival. It’s the atmosphere and camaraderie however that makes this festival so special.

We are down then to the final four bands, the final acts before reality is set to strike again. Up first on the second stage are Trash Boat who get the tent bouncing, especially with a stunning cover of Linkin Park classic ‘Given Up’.

If there is a perfect festival band it’s Skindred. Put them on any stage in any slot and they will attract a huge crowd. With a sub-headline slot on the main stage, the field is full as Benji Webbe and co put in a seamless lesson in crowd engagement.

The final act on the second stage is also no stranger to the festival scene. Although Frank Turner has played Download Festival in the past, even he acknowledges he may not be the typical Download act. Nobody cares though, as he puts in a typically euphoric performance.

The crowd are not just treated to the set staples but also to new song ‘The Gathering’ and heavier version of ‘Little Changes’. There are sing-a-longs aplenty as Turner does what he does best and that is entertain!

Check out The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Frank Turner!

That just leaves Bullet For My Valentine to close out Download Pilot Festival. A festival which we wish was never needed but are so glad that it happened. Bullet For My Valentine are long time Download favourites and they deliver an apt conclusion to the event.

We are treated to a unique take on ‘Run To The Hills’ from Iron Maiden complete with a perplexing vocal contribution fron Benji Webbe. We get new material in the form of ‘Knives’ and of course we get favourites such as ‘Scream Aim Fire’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.

‘Waking The Demon’ is the final song to ring around Donington Park, and we can only hope and pray that this event can wake the demon that is the festival scene. The fans may have been lab rats, but what a stunning lab it was! Thank you Download Pilot Festival for such a cathartic weekend.

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Live Reviews

Frank Turner

Thursday 14th January 2021

Livestream

Frank Turner Independent Venue Love 15 poster
Independent Venue Love 15 event poster

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Frank Turner – Live Review

Throughout the first national lockdown musicians were forced to find creative and innovative new ways to connect with their fans. This unique time saw the popularity of the music livestream rise as exponentially as the cases of the horrible virus that created the situation.

read our blog on the impact of livestreams on the music industry

The pandemic has caused us all to feel many negative emotions such as fear, worry, grief and sadness. For music fans, it has robbed us of a vital outlet which impacts greatly on our mental health. I recently discussed the immense impact of music on my mental health in my blog post ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

For musicians and everybody that works within the music industry it has caused significant crisis. Our beloved grassroots music venues are at risk. Musicians and live events workers employment has vanished overnight. Plus a light has been shone on the unfair recompense for artists from streaming.

read our blog on the #BrokenRecord Campaign

In amongst the darkness however there has been the odd glimmer of light. One man that has taken the power of livestreaming to heart is Frank Turner. Not only that but he has used this platform to raise awareness and valuable funding for those struggling venues, becoming a champion of the #SaveOurVenues campaign.

read our blog on the #SaveOurVenues Campaign

Turner’s Thursday night livestreams dubbed ‘Independent Venue Love’ have been a huge success. They have provided Turner with a connection to his fans. They have provided those fans with a vital distraction to raise their spirits. Whilst importantly they have raised the aforementioned funds. The success of these livestreams was one of the reasons we gave Turner the ‘Artist of the Year’ award in our review of 2020.

Now as we enter what has been dubbed Lockdown 3, Frank Turner has picked up his guitar once more ready to serenade his adoring fans. Turner will also again raise some much needed money and awareness for struggling venues. Tonight that venue is The Lantern in Halifax and the crowdfunder is here.

During his initial wave of livestreams, Turner focused on albums, or periods of his career to structure the events. This time around however, having exhausted his back catalogue, in order, last time around, Turner is handing the setlist over to his fans.

This ‘All Request’ format works extremely well with Turner’s wife Jess Guise behind the keyboard, monitoring requests and feeding them to Turner. It must be said that Turner’s ability to remember how to perform obscure songs from his catalogue at the drop of the hat is very impressive (‘English Curse’ aside ? )!

Turner has always been an artist that can turn the largest room into the smallest space, so the ability to watch him from your own living room certainly brings a new meaning to an intimate venue.

Whilst some of the livestream events that have taken place during these troubled time have felt somewhat soulless affairs akin to watching a soundcheck video on Youtube, the same certainly cannot be said of Turner’s livestreams. Tonight he once again somehow manages to captive and enthral us from his own house. This is a quality that cannot be taught and is an assertion of Turner’s talents as both a musical showman and a human being.

The requested setlist tonight is a mixture of the usual suspects with ‘If Ever I Stray’, ‘Be More Kind’ and ‘Get Better’ intertwined with rarer numbers such as ‘Romantic Fatigue’, ‘Cleopatra In Brooklyn’ and ‘Rivers’. These events certainly provide Turner fans with the opportunity to hear some tracks that wouldn’t normally get a look in at a regular gig.

The highlight of the evening however comes around the midway point of the 90 minute show when Turner delivers two new tracks. With a new album on the horizon fans will be eager to hear what new music is on offer. Tonight Turner whets the appetite with two excellent tracks, the sombre tribute to Scott Hutchison ‘A Wave Across the Bay’, and the punchy ‘Punches’.

With the tease of more Thursday night streams to look forward to, Frank Turner continues to provide a vital public service not just to his fans in need of entertainment but music venues in desperate need of help.

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Live Reviews

FIVE4FIVE FEST

Friday 18th – Saturday 19th December 2020

Five4Five Fest makes triumphant return to help #SaveOurVenues!

Back at the height of the initial national lockdown, a streamed festival entitled Five4Five Fest did two things. It provided much needed entertainment to struggling music fans and raised money for heroic NHS workers.

Now in Lockdown version 364 or something like that, the festival returns to once again provide an escape from the horrors of real life. This time the event is raising money for a cause close to home for music lovers, the Music Venue Trust and the Save Our Venues campaign. We recently wrote about the reasons why this support is desperately needed in our blog Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues.

As with the May event, Five4Five Fest takes place over a Friday and Saturday night with an array of musical talent performing from their homes/garages and this time even a school! The festivities are streamed across multiple channels and at present you can still catch up on demand on Youtube here.

There are probably fewer ‘household’ names on the line-up this time around, but there is no lack in talent. The Friday kicks off with a gentle performance from Paper Mill who include former Lower Than Atlantis guitarist Ben Sansom. There are more sombre moments to follow with both Holiday Oscar and Rob Lynch serenading us with emotionally charged songs including Lynch’s hauntingly festive school assembly set.

There is plenty of rocking to be done too however, with headliners Yonaka particularly bringing the party with the likes of ‘Rockstar’ and ‘F.W.T.B.’. Yonaka are stars and deservedly close the Friday night. To end night one, we are treated by the band to a festive outing of ‘Last Christmas’.

Both nights include afterparty DJ’s for those at home looking to continue the party. In true festival fashion there is also merch available at five4fivefest.com. There are also numerous raffle prizes all raising money for the Save Our Venues campaign.

Onto Saturday and the lineup for day two is certainly louder with the fantastic Haggard Cat blowing away any cobwebs. Nova Twins and Hacktivist both also deliver the goods before a slight change in pace with the brilliant Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

The event is closed out by two fine young bands Normandie and finally Holding Absence. Again both performances provide great entertainment for those watching from home and whet the appetite for the return of live music.

The sad reality is however that many of the venues that these bands will frequent may not be around when music can finally return. They haven’t been properly supported by the government and they desperately need support. The good news is that you can help, by donating to the #SaveOurVenues campaign.

Once again Five4Five Fest has been a massive success and over the two evenings has showcased some amazing young talent. With your support and with hopes of battling this virus raised by recent vaccine announcements, lets hope and pray that soon enough we are able to return to watching these bands in our favourite venues!

You can still watch Five4Five fest and until Monday 27th December 2020, you can still donate, buy merch and enter raffles at five4fivefest.com.

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Live Reviews

Beans On Toast

Sunday 22nd November 2020 Livestream

Livestreams have become a staple of the coronavirus pandemic for passionate music fans. COVID-19 has a lot to answer for and for some the rise of the livestream is a negative, for others however it has been a small light in the darkness. Enough about that for now however, as you can expect a full blog on the subject shortly.

There have been two types of livestream – firstly, the basic home-based setup that has seen a large uptake from individuals with acoustic guitars. However, with this setup not conducive of a full band, we have more recently seen a swathe of full band streams from inside actual venues. Tonight is the first, one man, an acoustic guitar and a plethora of items for sale!

That man is Jay McAllister, known professionally as Beans On Toast. This is a gentleman who has amassed a cult following from years of relentless touring, and it’s clear that this whole situation is uncomfortable for him. That’s not that say that he isn’t thoroughly entertaining, and ultimately the evening is free and the audience don’t even have to leave their homes!

As unusual as the show must be for the artist, it’s also a different experience for the audience. With Facebook Live however there is a live chat which makes the experience more engaging. You feel you are part of a moment, as opposed to simply watching an old video on Youtube. Plus, like I said, it’s free! But that’s not to say that Beans On Toast isn’t hoping to make a living.

With not one but two new albums out shortly, there are plugs galore for both albums and their associated merchandise. We even get his wife modelling the new clothing items for sale. As cringe worthy as that may sound, it actually adds to the quaintness and intimacy of the evening.

Musically Beans On Toast treats those listening to a good mix of old and new. We get old favourites like ‘I’m Home When You Hold Me’, ‘Watching The World Go By’ and ‘Things’ interspersed between new tracks from across his two new albums. The story of the two new albums is that every year on his birthday we get a new Beans On Toast album. This year that album is ‘Knee Deep In Nostalgia’ produced by the one and only Frank Turner.

With yearly albums, Bean On Toast is very topical in his lyrical content. With these tracks mostly written prior to the world turning upside down however, a locked down Beans On Toast sat and wrote some topical tunes. The outcome is a second album of songs inspired by 2020, ‘The Unforeseeable Future’.

A number of tracks from both albums have already been released as singles and already the likes of ‘The Village Disco’ and ‘Album Of The Day’ feel like classic Beans On Toast songs. Tonight we get to hear ‘My Favourite Teacher’ and ‘Patience?’ as the festivities come towards a close.

All in all, tonight will only have solidified fans opinions that these two albums threaten to be two of Beans On Toast’s best yet. An “encore” of ‘On And On’ closes the evening at around half past nine just in time for fans to chill out before bed – one of the big positives of a livestream!

Of course I want real live music back as soon as safely possible, but in the mean time livestreams provide the escape sought from reality. As discussed in my recent blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’, music is an escape; and those looking for an escape could do worse than the two new Beans On Toast albums!