Live Reviews


The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Wednesday 24th May 2022

Follow us on Social Media


In the week that the Music Venue Trust launches their new #OwnOurVenues campaign, it’s somewhat fitting that we find ourselves at The Portland Arms in Cambridge.

Not only does the venue signify everything that the organisation seeks to protect, but they have themselves benefitted during lockdown from the Frank Turner led Independent Venue Love series.

It is venues such as this that act as the lifeblood for artists and music fans alike and The Portland Arms is a particular favourite of mine.

We find ourselves here tonight to catch the brilliant Fatherson, as the band tour their latest album, ‘Normal Fears’. As it appears are many others who fill the venue despite the favourable Spring weather outside.


Opening tonight is a band that has been building a solid reputation over the past decade, but one that is emerging again after large structural changes. Black Foxxes released their third album mid-pandemic shortly following major line-up changes.

Tonight they show that this refreshed version of the band is still a viable prospect with huge amounts of potential. A raw and intense performance is underpinned by the quality of musicianship, which ensures that the crowd are suitably enthralled.


Soon enough it is time for the headliners Fatherson to step onto the intimate stage, and they do so by bursting straight into ‘Dive’, ‘Charm School’ and ‘Lost Little Boys’. This trifecta is a superb opening salvo which gets the audience into high spirits.

Singer Ross Leighton then introduces ‘Normal People’ and their fourth studio album, ‘Normal Fears’, gets to come to life in the live setting. The new tracks slot in seamlessly with older favourites, and demonstrate the impressive back catalogue that the band has now amassed.

Throughout the evening the band show their quality as a live act, with Leighton’s vocals particularly captivating at times. Once you catch Fatherson live, you will be hooked moving forward such is their power as a band.

Picking a set list with four quality albums behind them must be a tricky conversation now for the band, but tonight they come up with a good mix from across all albums. Older favourites are present such as ‘Cat Stevens’ and ‘Ghost’, with newer tracks like ‘Better Friend’ and ‘Honest To God’ also serving a highlights.

All in All, as the band finish with an encore of ‘Making Waves’, fans can leave the venue reflecting on another fantastic night of music. It really is nights like this, in venues like this where music truly thrives.

Share this review on Social Media

Read our review of October Drift live in Norwich

Album Reviews


Normal Fears

Follow us on Social Media


There are some bands that just capture you entirely when you first hear them. Fatherson were able to accomplish that with me in 2014 when I first saw them as a support act. Some 8 years and 3 albums later, the band has since established themselves in the alternative rock world, and now they are set to release their fourth album, ‘Normal Fears’.

Preceding the album have been a whopping five tracks. With the album comprising thirteen songs, I already had a good idea of what to expect from the album. That was something new and different, yet something extremely familiar.

Listen to ‘End Of The World’ on our Spotify Hot List!

From the opening salvo of ‘End Of The World’, ‘Love For Air’ and ‘Normal People’ the bands new expansive sound is clear for all to hear. Their evolution towards a poppier direction then continues to be documented with ‘Everything’, ‘Do It For Yourself’ and ‘Honest To God’.

Fatherson – ‘Dive’

Singer Ross Leighton’s distinctive vocals still take centre stage, whether during tender moments such as ‘All The Time’ or more vibrant moments like ‘Dive’. Musically this album is a slight change of pace but it’s not a sprint to the finish. The band has done well to stay true to their sound whilst also embracing new ideas and reaching for new heights.

Fans both old and new will find pleasure with ‘Normal Fears’ capturing the sound of a band unshackled and just letting go. It has been a tough few years, with the world breaking more every day. We need music to keep us sane, and with ‘Normal Fears’ being thematically relatable and sonically aspiring, there is perhaps no better album to do that right now.

It’s always great to find a new act, but it’s even better to watch them grow.

Share this review on Social Media

Read our review of ‘Heavy Like A Headache’ from The Ninth Wave