Live Reviews

Skinny Lister

Norwich Arts Centre

Thursday 30th November 2023

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📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music


Outside may be bitterly cold, but inside Norwich Arts Centre tonight there is the familiar warmth of community. That’s because those shanty punks Skinny Lister are in town for another uplifting evening of sing-a-long folk tales.


Country Blues duo The Molee Shakes are the first act to grace the stage this evening and set about showcasing their melancholic fuzz to the early attendees. The performance grows as it progresses and by the end they’ve certainly done enough to engage the crowd and start the show the right way.


After a short changeover five-piece ensemble Life Aquatic Band appear as our main support act. The band offer intrigue from the outset with their unique indie disco brand. Each of the three acts tonight offer something different which makes the evening an eclectic mix, but Life Aquatic Band in and of themselves are a delightful sonic jumble!

The musicianship is mightily impressive, the songs have something special about them, the set itself is slick and quirkily stylish and the overall package is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s no surprise therefore that come the climax of their time of stage, the audience appear desperate for more whilst offering a genuinely rousing ovation.


For many bands that would a difficult set to follow, but Skinny Lister are no average band and they’ve long asserted themselves into the most fun live band conversation. Tonight is simply another exhibit for the case of the prosecution.

From the word go, the band use every ounce of energy to rip through one stirring fan favourite to another. Clearly the likes of ‘Wanted’, ‘Tragedy in A Minor’, ‘Rattle & Roar’ and ‘Cathy’ were always destined to elicit positive responses from the audience. Tonight, though the band are also able to perform tracks from their latest album, ‘Shanty Punk’.

Now in our album review we called it the most ‘Skinny Lister’ Skinny Lister album, and that sentiment follows these songs onto the stage. All of ‘Arm Wrestling in Dresden’, ‘Company of the Bar’, ‘Mantra’ and ‘Unto the Breach’ fit perfectly into the well established setlist and all receive great reactions from a crowd having lots of fun.

Today saw the untimely departure of Pogues iconic frontman Shane MacGowan, and with a little over an hour until December arrives there’s a fitting tribute at the start of the encore with a superb rendition of ‘Fairytale Of New York’. The night then finishes with ‘Six Whiskies’ heralding one last sing-a-long moment.

At this point Skinny Lister are a guaranteed good time and you’d be a fool to miss them when they come to your town!

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Live Reviews

Holding Absence

Epic Studios, Norwich

Monday 27th November 2023

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📸 (C) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

Holding Absence frontman Lucas Woodland reminisces onstage tonight about the last time the band played in Norwich. Apparently only one ticket was sold! Well, tonight there are a fair few more in attendance as Epic Studios welcomes the Welsh rockers back to the city.


Opening proceedings on this tour are Floridians Dark Divine, who instantly grab your attention with both their striking presentation and their slick rock offerings. Yes, in an industry where it’s harder than ever to standout, Dark Divine manage to do just that tonight.

Considering this is the bands first ever trip to the UK, you’re left to imagine just what the band can go on to achieve? On the evidence of tonight, you’d have to conclude that their future is very bright indeed!


The international support bill continues next with Aussies Thornhill. The group have established their reputation over the past decade both in the studio and on the stage, and they now find themselves preparing for a fresh era. New single ‘Viper Room’ starts their set tonight and offers a glimpse of what’s to come.

Thornhill are undoubtedly the heaviest band on the bill this evening and as their set continues they manage to engage a central core of moshers who amplify the atmosphere somewhat. Clearly the band achieve their mission tonight and leave with more fans than they arrived with, and those fans will be eager to see what comes next.


What comes next tonight though is the moment that those who queued down road tonight have been waiting for, our headliners Holding Absence. When you speak of a band establishing themselves, you can’t help but to look at what this group has achieved in a relatively short span of time.

Many headline shows, support slots and festival appearances have built a reputation that is only enhanced by their ever-increasing back catalogue. Latest album, ‘The Noble Art of Self Destruction’ takes centre stage tonight and more than holds its own amongst favourites like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Wilt’.

The four-piece are able to command a respectable control over the audience who seem almost in awe of the majestic echo of their music. The magnificent acoustic rendition of ‘Like A Shadow’ is one of the highlights this evening, but truthfully the headline set flows by like a tsunami of sonic resonance.

An encore of ‘Celebration Song’, ‘Afterlife’ and ‘The Angel in the Marble’ is the icing on the cake, and the band leave promising to be back soon. With the growth of the band thus far, you’d have to expect an even bigger crowd will be waiting for them on their third trip to Norwich!

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Live Reviews

Massive Wagons

Epic Studios, Norwich

Tuesday 14th November 2023

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📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

The queue formed outside of Epic Studios in Norwich is a testament to the growing reputation of Massive Wagons. As is the observation of our photographer who last shot them as a support band in a pub in 2016 – “these wagons have become massive!”.

Yes the rise has been slow but steady for the Lancastrian five-piece with each album and each live show seeming to build momentum. Tonight marks the first night of their second tour in support of latest effort ‘Triggered!’, and the band have The New Roses in tow.


The German rockers have a similar pedigree to our headliners and their growing status will only swell further on the evidence of tonight. The group radiate a natural rock n’ roll elegance from the stage and singer Timmy Rough uses his understated charisma to engage the swathes of Massive Wagons t-shirts on standby for the headliners.

There is an effortless cool as the band showcase material from across their career including most recent album, ‘Sweet Poison’. Their forty-five minute slot flies by which is usually a good sign and they will have undoubtedly gained some new followers tonight.


Tonight probably isn’t going to be a night where Massive Wagons pick up many new fans as the crowd all appear well and truly initiated already. From the moment the band hit the stage with fan favourite, ‘Back to the Stack’ to the last strains of ‘It In Together’, the crowd are treated to the customary Massive Wagons experience.

That is a full throttle rock show with frontman Baz Mills playing the role of chief orchestrator to a tee. Mills flies around the stage, whipping up the crowd, whilst the band solidly unleash their rumbling alt-rock noise.

There are plenty of sing-a-longs in the setlist with the run of ‘Ratio’, ‘China Plates’, ‘Bangin in Your Stereo’ and ‘Nails’ particularly getting the audience going but there isn’t a relent in the pace of evening at any point. The songs from ‘Triggered!’ seem to get equal affection to older favourites, with the setlist well structured to keep that momentum going.

By the time it’s all said and done the crowd have clearly had a great time and both bands have delivered a memorable evening of rock for the fine residents of Norwich. You wouldn’t be surprised to see both bands continue building their momentum in the coming years, but Massive Wagons certainly appear to have established themselves on the circuit now as a safe bet for fans.

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Live Reviews

Millie Manders and the Shutup

The Reindeer, Norwich

Saturday 11th November 2023

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📸 (C) Denis Gorbatov

The autumnal sunshine that graced us today has given way to a cold evening as winter ensures that you know that it’s coming. It’s fitting perhaps then to head to The Reindeer in Norwich for a grassroots punk show.

It’s nights like this, in independent venues like this that the truest testaments to musical community transpire and tonight is sold out well in advance. The Norwich punk rock scene is clearly thriving and excited to welcome Millie Manders and the Shutup as they play a local show towards the end of a lengthy UK trek.


Up first are another local act The Cain Pit who deliver their punk with a bluegrass/country base. The outcome is thunderously good fun as the group do a commendable job of warming up those coming in from the cold.

A relatively new band The Cain Pit have the makings of a new live favourite with songs like ‘Roses’ and ‘Tapestry’ going down like that fifth shot of whiskey at your best friends wedding!


Our headline act tonight Millie Manders and the Shutup have already established themselves as live favourites and this year have backed that up with fantastic sets at the likes of Rebellion, Slam Dunk and Bearded Theory festivals.

As already touched upon, tonight finds the band almost at the end of a 17 date run with multiple sold out shows including tonight. It’s a great way to end a year that has seen Manders share the first tastes of new material since 2020’s debut album ‘Telling Truths, Breaking Ties’.

New tracks ‘Shut Your Mouth’ and ‘Rebound’ both sound huge tonight as the band deliver an hour or so of relentless punk intensity. There is clearly a connection between Manders and the audience that leads to a joyous atmosphere reverberating around the venue.

Playing as a three-piece tonight due to an ill bassist, the energy and fervour emanating from both the stage and the dancefloor extinguish any missing elements they as meld the aura of the evening into one big old party.

Inside venues like this all of the world’s troubles are temporarily pushed to the back of your mind. Even when the time comes to leave the venue and head into the frostbitten night, the memories of drinks flowing, mohawks dancing and Millie Manders and the Shutup delivering the goods provides a much needed glimmer of hope. That after all is the magic of live music.

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Live Reviews

The Hunna

Junction, Cambridge

Monday 30th October 2023

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📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

It’s the night before Halloween and it’s a typical autumnal evening in Cambridge. The bars and restaurants are bustling and the Junction is doing what they do best and welcoming music fans in for an eclectic night of entertainment.


The first act to grace the stage this evening is Band of Silver hailing from Nashville. The sibling trio have a modest early crowd to win over, but they set about doing just that. The three bands tonight are an eclectic mix as already mentioned, but Band of Silver are pretty darn eclectic themselves!

Mixing rock and pop with elements of new wave and prog, there is an awful lot going on with their sound. This isn’t a bad thing and certainly makes for an interesting half hour, although the audience doesn’t really reciprocate the energy exuded from the stage. Further exploration of Band of Silver is definitely on the agenda though as the band do the most important thing and leave a mark.


The main support act on the tour are Sick Joy who slow things down with their darker, grungier sound. The crowd has grown in both size and intensity as the venue is captivated by the groovy rockers.

Following the release of their debut album last year, Sick Joy are already building their next phase and recent single, ‘Hypodermic Sunshine’, gives a positive glimpse of what’s to come. The band are well on the way to establishing themselves as a must see act and shows like tonight will only grow their fanbase further.


Cultivating a fanbase isn’t something that has been a problem for our headliners The Hunna. Ever since the band broke through in 2016 they’ve been on the cusp of huge things. Their debut album has ensured that the band will always be able to pack out venues like tonight and it’s no surprise that by the time the band come on the venue is full and raring to go.

From the moment the band arrive onstage you feel in the presence of something special and the atmosphere ramps up throughout the likes of ‘We Could Be’, ‘Fugazi’, ‘I Wanna Know’ and ‘Can’t Break What’s Broken’.

Self-titled album, ‘The Hunna’ takes centre stage tonight amidst a well structured, career-spanning setlist. The album continues the bands momentum and is a great collection of songs, many of which come across well live tonight with ‘Apologies’ and show ender ‘Trash’ particular highlights.

The main set closing run of ‘She’s Casual’, ‘Bonfires’ and ‘Dare’ is electric as you’d expect and with the tease of new music on the horizon, it’s very clear that The Hunna still have plenty more to offer.

There were no tricks at the Junction tonight, but for those in attendance there were an abundance of treats!

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Live Reviews

Philip Seth Campbell

Portland Arms, Cambridge

Monday 16th October 2023

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When journeyman musician Phil Campbell left his role as frontman for The Temperance Movement in 2020, it was obvious to fans that his musical journey would continue in some shape or form. Campbell after all is a man that wears his heart on his sleeve and his heart and soul is rooted in song.

Following the release of an album with The Byson Family, that journey came full circle and now finds Campbell releasing his music under the eponymous full moniker of Philip Seth Campbell. Now with recently unleashed album, ‘City Lights’ to showcase, Campbell is back out where he belongs – on stage.


That stage tonight is found in the fantastic Portland Arms in Cambridge and opening the evening is Alice Faye. The solo musician bases herself at a piano in front of what appears to be a predominately rock orientated audience and proceeds to serenade them with a selection of delicate tunes.

You may think this could go down like a certain ill-designed balloon, but that’s not the case! Faye’s obvious talent and the receptive nature of Campbell’s fanbase means that the crowd hangs off of every note.


It isn’t long thereafter that Campbell arrives onstage with a three-piece set-up bringing songs from his career to life. The focus of course is on ‘City Lights’ and the exceptional ‘Magical West’ gets us started in the best way.

Over the course of the next hour or so each song tells its own story and it is evidently clear again that Campbell is one of the most eminently gifted singers of his generation. Campbell’s career has been a journey indeed and probably fairly described as an arduous one. It’s one however that has rewarded Campbell with incredible experiences and his fans with an embarrassment of musical riches to enjoy.

The influences on ‘City Lights’ may be more eclectic than found through the likes of The Temperance Movement, but the results all bear the spirit and essence of the man himself. The new music is resplendent tonight and old favourites like ‘Chinese Lanterns’ and finale ‘Lovers & Fighters’ still sound glorious.

It’s great to see Philip Seth Campbell back on a stage doing what he loves, and fans tonight will be glad they made the effort to support a great local venue and an incredibly talented artist commencing the latest leg of his remarkable journey.

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Live Reviews


Epic Studios, Norwich

Saturday 14th October 2023

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All 📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

At this point it’s certainly not a secret that Skindred are an incredible live act. The bands recent chart success and trending ability however seems to have reinvigorated audiences for one of the hardest working bands on the planet. Every single date on this full UK Tour is sold out and the queue to get into the venue tonight stretches as far as the eye can see.


That venue is the fantastic Epic Studios in Norwich which is always a great host for gigs. As the queue files into the large space from the autumnal evening, opening act Lake Malice warm them up with a blistering set of modern metal bangers.

The band have been winning over audiences with festival and support slots since their inception in 2021 and will soon release their debut EP ‘Post-Genesis’. It seems that with every performance and every release they pick up swathes of new fans due to the passion and energy of their music. Tonight just further evidences that fact and does make you wonder just how big the band will become!


Another sign of Skindred’s live ability is the fact that they aren’t intimidated by quality support acts. Lucky attendees on this tour will get two of those with BLACKGOLD along for the ride as the main support act. The masked group have also been making waves with big festival appearances and a supporting position with Limp Bizkit recently.

Tonight they have a full venue to play with and the audience buys in almost immediately. Frontman Spookz makes crowd engagement appear easy and musically the band go down a treat with their reimagined nu-metal style. Echoing the sentiments of Lake Malice, you again feel that the future is very bright for BLACKGOLD.


Skindred on the other hand feel as though they are at the peak of their powers right now. New album, ‘Smile’, hit number two in the charts and they have a headline date booked in for Wembley Arena next year. Tonight they receive a hero’s welcome as they arrive on stage, bust out new favourite ‘Set Fazers’ and instantly get the crowd moving.

Benjie Webbe has always had an ability to conduct a crowd like a rock n’ roll ringmaster and it is truly awe inspiring to witness him work his magic tonight. The whole band really are mesmeric as they mix fan favourites both old and new.

As we said at the start, it shouldn’t be news to anybody reading this that Skindred are a top tier live act, after all they’ve proven that time and time again. Something does feel different though. The set feels fresher. The riffs go harder. The beats run deeper. The atmosphere feels more electric. Everything it seems has been turned up to eleven!

The obligatory Newport Helicopter accompanies set closer ‘Warning’ and the impressive stage show merges with flying t-shirts and sweat. It’s a mightily impressive sight and signals the crowd to head back into the chilly night raving about the awesome show that they’ve just witnessed.

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Live Reviews

The Xcerts

Waterfront Studio, Norwich

Saturday 7th October 2023

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📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

As singer Murray Macleod jokes onstage tonight, it is easy to forget just how long The Xcerts have been around. The origins of the band date back over two decades already, although their debut album arrived back in 2009. It’s in recent years though that the band have truly threatened to breakthrough.

The trio do have a cult following in place as is evidenced by the fact that their queue for the venue tonight is much larger than that of The Sherlocks who are playing in the larger room at the same time.

snake eyes

Fans filing in early to the Waterfront Studio in Norwich tonight are first treated to a fantastic opening set from Brighton’s snake eyes. Another trio, the band echo the grittier side of The Xcerts sound and are able to win over the audience with relative ease.

The band put out latest EP, ‘health’, earlier this year and the likes of ‘crybaby’ and ‘medicine’ from the release sound great tonight as does latest single, ‘lean’. The group have certainly shown growth on record and this evening they are able to showcase themselves well live also. They most definitely are on that proverbial ‘ones to watch’ list!


The Xcerts have probably been on that list for all of their career at this point and the untapped potential is still clear for all to see. 2018’s ‘Hold On to Your Heart’ was a magnificent album which demonstrated the sheer brilliance of the bands songwriting. If there was any justice in the world, then that album would have jettisoned The Xcerts into the mainstream.

Five years on and the band have followed that album up with a sonically expansive collection entitled ‘Learning How to Live and Let Go’. The graceful ferocity of the album is put at the forefront tonight as the band open their set with ‘GIMME’.

Naturally new music is front and centre in the setlist tonight, but with five albums out in the world, there is a nice selection on offer from across the bands releases. It’s a good sign though that the audience seem to sing new tracks like ‘Ache’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Lovesick’ with equal levels of passion as favourites such as ‘Aberdeen 1987’ and ‘Slackerpop’.

The back catalogue of the band is mightily impressive at this point, but you also sense that there is plenty to come. The Xcerts uniquely find themselves with considerable experience whilst still being young enough to have their best years ahead of them.

On the evidence of tonight they certainly have the live side of things perfected and they have a divine talent for creating a real connection with their audience. You therefore leave the venue into the unseasonal October warmth acknowledging how phenomenal a band The Xcerts are whilst pondering just how great they can still be!

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Live Reviews

Foolhardy Folk Festival

Nottingham Arboretum

Sunday 27th August 2023

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Foolhardy Folk Festival – Nottingham – Live review

Towards the end of the original lockdown, the ever creative music industry sought ways to bring people back together to experience the unparalleled joy of live music. The Arboretum in Nottingham hosted a number of events including a couple of shows from folk favourite Frank Turner.

That is where the story of the Foolhardy Folk Festival begins as the man behind the festival, fellow folk icon Beans On Toast played in support of Turner. From there on Beans has affectionately taken over and curated his own festival which this year is a complete sell out.

A large part of this is the stunning line-up put on but another is the fantastic sense of community that exists in this portion of the folk scene and the lovely audience that has taken this back to basics event to heart.

Opening his own event Beans On Toast highlights the great music, great food and great beer theme. On the music front Beans serenades the already full venue with the likes of ‘Major Oak’, ‘The War on War’ and ‘Humans’ as the festival gets into full swing.

Beans On Toast – ‘Humans’

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The festival is family friendly and this is punctuated by the vibe created by attendees in that we are all family. Beans own daughter lays on kids activites, there is live art and lots of merch offer as well but with short changeovers the attention is mainly on the one stage where both Vona Vella and Tensheds play delightful early sets.

Soon enough it’s time for our special guest to take to the stage and this year that means Frank Turner himself as he returns the favour three years on from that socially distanced affair.

As you’d expect Turner gets a hero’s welcome as he begins his set with ‘Be More Kind’ and ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’. The crowd’s singing voices are in fine fettle which is a good thing considering the sing-a-longs continue through to final song ‘I Still Believe’.

Frank Turner – ‘I Still Believe’

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Another beautiful thing about this community is the lack of ego on show, Turner as always appearing eternally grateful for the opportunity to play. The same can be said for your next three acts Truckstop Honeymoon, Ferris & Sylvester and Jeffery Lewis & The Voltage. All three acts are given equally as passionate reactions from the audience who can clearly appreciate beautiful music.

Considering we’ve brought our two little monsters with us another great thing about Foolhardy Folk Festival is that the music is wrapped up by 9pm! But before then we still have two highly anticipated performances.

First up are the always joyous Skinny Lister who bring their traditional party atmosphere to the festival. Perhaps more so than any other set today, the Lister crew get the fans up and dancing to the likes of ‘Cathy’, ‘This Is War’ and ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’. The band are surely now established as one of the best live acts in the UK and with a new album and tour on the horizon, there will thankfully be lots of opportunities to catch them again in the near future!

Skinny Lister – ‘Cathy’

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Finally the event ends just as it began… with our gracious host Beans On Toast! With backing band in tow this time around the show feels different and special as our headline performance. Kicking off with ‘Life’ and ‘Not Everybody Thinks We’re Doomed’ the set is an uplifting celebration of our existence and is the perfect way to end a wonderful day.

The cutest cameo from Beans daughter, new material and old favourites ensure that despite having to follow some sensational artists, Beans On Toast is able to send the crowd into the night reminiscing about a beautiful day, many including our kids still singing the chorus of ‘On & On’!

With another edition already announced for next August, the Foolhardy Folk Festival has quickly established itself as a must attend date on the folk calendar. This is of course a credit to Beans On Toast, but also to everyone involved behind the scenes and of course the fan community that makes the event so special.

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Live Reviews

All Points East

Victoria Park, London

Friday 25th August 2023

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All Points East has now firmly established its place in the UK festival calendar having already brought some huge names to Victoria Park in London in recent years.

Those names included The Strokes in 2019 when their headline set was struck by sound issues. That perhaps is the reason for their relatively quick return this year, but fans also have the prospect of hearing material from 2020 release ‘The New Abnormal’.

But before we get there we have a lot more to get through, that is after we get through traffic issues outside of London which sadly means with miss both HotWax and FEET.

When we do arrive in the arena, we head straight to the East Stage (one of two huge outdoor main stages) for the reformed Be Your Own Pet. The band only reunited last year but they own the stage today as if they’ve never been away. With their fantastic performance, Jemina Pearl starts a theme of woman stealing the show today.

A brisk walk is then required to get over to the West Stage for another reunion! The Walkmen have recently returned and draw a good early crowd to the stage. The band return the favour with a career-spanning crowd pleaser of a set.

Soon though, it’s time for the woman to take centre stage again with Amyl and the Sniffers quickly making the West Stage their own. Frontwoman Amy Taylor already has the audience in the palm of her hand when an almighty downpour commences. For most acts this would kill their momentum, but the band are able to hold the crowd and ramp up the intensity, creating a moment that will last long in the memory.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Maps’

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Another short wait on the West Stage is all it takes for another incredible female artist to steal the show. The iconic Karen O leads Yeah Yeah Yeahs through a headline worthy performance which is absolutely enthralling.

By the time the band closes out their set with ‘Maps’, ‘Heads Will Roll’ and ‘Date With The Night’, they’ve proven themselves to be one of the best live bands on the planet. Captivating, dazzling and glorious, you start your walk back to the East Stage wondering how on earth our headline act can match that performance.

Sadly for The Strokes the fateful enemy has a say once again with sound issues somehow a problem once more. Many in the crowd complain that the volume is too low, something perhaps not helped by the meandering pace of the setlist.

That said, when the band do dig out the hits the crowd comes to life. The setlist features many of the same staples as 2019 but we do get ‘Ode to the Mets’ and ‘The Adults Are Talking’ from their latest studio effort.

Through their ninety minute set the band are able to evidence why they are one of the most acclaimed acts of the past two decades and it is far from a bad performance.

You just leave with the same disappointment as last time due to sound problems dampening the show. Perhaps that means the band will be back again in a couple of years, but either way All Points East continues to go from strength to strength and this year is another resounding success!

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