Neon Waltz Live Review, Omeara, London Bridge

Sunday 26th February 2017

neon_waltz_750_1234Photos: Agnieszka Kocinska

You might be excused for thinking that London’s railways have changed a lot since Paul Weller immortalised the capital’s “Cold and uninviting, partially naked” tube stations in 1978. For after leaving the refurbished and repolished London Bridge terminus, around the corner you might just find a new music venue tucked into a hole in the wall beneath the railway line.

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Goat Girl & Dead Pretties Live Review, The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch

Wednesday 4th January 2017

goatsPhotos: Alberto Pezzali

When I think about those prophetic moments I heard a great band for the first time, then I often recall that quote by Lester Bangs: “They’re events you remember all your life, like your first real orgasm.” The problem is, if its guitar bands that turn you on, then your ears would have been decidedly chaste, or at least only transiently promiscuous, over the last few years. But as we welcome in the new year, Gigwise has tipped a whole host of strat-wielding young groups for big things in 2017.

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The Specials Live Review, The Great Hall, Exeter

Saturday 5th November 2016

theband_2tone
Photo: thespecials.com

Few and far between are the days when I don’t find myself pining listlessly for those fabled years when our student unions were a certain fixture on band’s tours across the country. Stuck as I am now in the comparatively less proliferant live music scene of 2016, seeing The Specials perform live at the university’s Great Hall therefore seemed too symbolic an opportunity to miss.

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Last Shadow Puppets Live Review, Alexandra Palace

Saturday 16th July 2016

An endlessly entertaining ego trip

gigwiselsp15002Photos: Alexia Arrizabalaga

White drapes hang from the glass dome of Alexandra Palace, studio lights line the back of the stage, and through gusts of pink confetti a huge disco ball is lowered from the ceiling. It looks more like something Fellini dreamt of in the 1970s than a rock concert, but with their soaring orchestral scores, surrealistic lyricism and increasingly outlandish sartorial choices, it is that almost cinematic theatricality that has long been the appeal of The Last Shadow Puppets.

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Massive Attack Live Review, BST Hyde Park

Friday 1st July 2016

Bristol trip-hop comes to London with a biting political vindictiveness

massiveattack03-1-of-1Photos: Michael Jamison

Massive Attack captured the Bristol Sound. Claustrophobic, tenebrous vibrations seem to seep out from the crepuscule of the old Bristol club scene whenever you listen to their early records, but one could only be tentative about how this sound would translate to the open landscape of Hyde Park. Having seen Blur completely in their element last year on the same stage, I was unsure before the show whether Massive Attack’s persistently underground trip-hop could match the triumph of their Britpop predecessors.

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Ronnie Spector Live Review, Exeter Phoenix

Thursday 9th June 2016

ronnie-spectorPhoto: exeterphoenix.org.uk

Being born over three decades after she released her first single with The Ronettes, to me Ronnie Spector has only ever existed in the mythology of glimmering press shots, the lore of biography, like many stars of that era lingering far beyond the oblique parapet of reality. Beautiful, iconic, somewhere between Broadway and Spanish Harlem, early punk rocker or pop princess, an elusive voice on an old pop record that strikes a note on a knife’s edge between cherubic innocence and seductive precociousness. Ronnie Spector, the voice on many of the greatest pop records of the 1960s, is more fascinating than most.

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