ZIG ZAGS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 21st May 2019.

22 05 2019

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Last night I got the chance to see one of the loudest bands ever. There’s only a couple of bands that have left me partially deaf after a show, and Zig Zags are one of them. They are LA’s nosiest band for sure.

They played my favourite venue here, the Soup Kitchen. The only bad thing about this show was that there was hardly anyone there. I’m disheartened about this because Zig Zags are a brilliant live band. However, although the turnout was poor that didn’t stop them and maybe subconsciously they decided to play louder than usual? I don’t know, but I do know this- it was one of the standout shows I’ve been to this year. It was their first time in Manchester, and I really hope it isn’t their last because they are a band that you’ve just GOT to see live. There’s something about them that just spurs you on.

They recently released their new record, They’ll Never Take Us Alive. I wanted to write a review about the record but, I kind of wanted to see their show first before taking it on. I wanted to see how it’d come across in a live environment because it has such a big sound. So, this is part live review/part record review/part me just going on about how great they are. I don’t know where any of this will go, but it’s out of pure admiration.

 

 

The new record is full of anthems, and I as I watched them in awe last night I couldn’t help but feel that their songs would be perfect in a stadium. They have this wonderful, grand sound but it isn’t overpowering. They are amazing musicians, and I swear Dane is one of the greatest drummers of our time. Although the venue wasn’t full, last night he played as if it was a huge fucking stadium and for me- that just sold it. The way they played last night just cemented my respect for them.

Zig Zags remind me of the Misfits mixed with the Melvins and Sleep; with a hint of Noothgrush. Basically, a perfect sound On record, sure you can hear loud they are but when you see them live, something else happens. The songs are heightened and they have this bigger feel to them. Considering they played a small venue, they made it sound like you were somewhere quadruple the size of where you were. For me, that shows you just how great a band is.

With three records into their career, each one is a step bigger and louder. They evolve in a brilliant way, and I really hope I get to see them live again because this was some show! I don’t think there’s a band around right now that are like this, and I just love how they can just annihilate your eardrums in the most beautiful way possible. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is definitely one of this year’s most out there records, and one that oozes fearlessness and this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of.

 

 

Zig Zags are the best at what they do, and not only do their records prove this- but their live shows do too. I’m pretty much going to live in the two shirts I bought last night!

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CROCODILES. Soup Kitchen, Manchester 17th May 2019.

21 05 2019

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How do you write about a band that you have seen 11 times live without repeating yourself? Who cares! Friday night was my 11th time seeing my buddies, Crocodiles and they played my absolute favourite venue in Manchester- the Soup Kitchen. It’s a sweaty and dark basement venue; just how it should be.

End of April 2009, Crocodiles released their debut record. A record I bought by accident on the day it came out and since then, I’ve just fallen in love with everything they’ve done since. Every record has blown me away, and every show has done the same.

However, there is something truly special about their shows in Manchester that stand out. This was my 3rd time seeing them in Manchester, and I just love how you can see how much this beautiful city means to Brandon and Charlie. There was even a nod to local hero, Pete Shelley with their Buzzcocks cover which I’m sure he would have been proud of.

I stood directly in front of Charlie, and was in awe of his pedal set-up. It’s a piece of art, and he swings his guitar around like a machine gun whilst looking like a young Scott Walker. Brandon and Charlie have this way of just changing how you feel about their music when you see them live, and it is always a wonderful thing to witness. They are just of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and they just put their all into their shows.

 

You can’t help but shift your eyes across the stage to watch them all annihilate the stage. Brandon sings with this passion that is just astounding, and Charlie matches it with his effortlessly cool way of using his guitar as a weapon. As cliched as it is, they are just the coolest cats around, and it just shines through perfectly in their songs and their live shows.

The energy in the crowd is typical of a Manchester crowd, and just an absolute pleasure to be part of. The love that Crocodiles have for this city is just admirable, and something us fans here truly treasure. They feed off the crowd, and this crowd were reciprocating it. 10 years in, and they are still making music to lose your shit to. Songs like I Wanna Kill and Marquis De Sade, and new songs such as Exit My Head come more alive. I can’t ever get enough of hearing I Wanna Kill, and the crowd are the same. It’s one of those songs that just do something to you, and once you hear it. It’s an anthem.

Crocodiles are a band that you just don’t ever get tired of listening to, and watching. They have this way of just making you forget the real world for the time they are on stage. They make you want to start a band, they make you want to always be in the moment of being at a live show. As a fan, this is what I absolutely adore about music and how powerful it is. Also, Brandon and I had Bad Brains shirts on which anyone else would regard as a wardrobe clash. However for this, it’s just two people who love one of the best bands ever!

There’s a good balance of songs from all of their records, and sure I’d want them to play all of them but hey- that’s too much, I know! This was my first time seeing them on my own, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety I full on prepared myself to have some form of panic attack. I was wrong, I just felt totally safe at this show. Trivial I know, but small things like this help. Anyway, smushy stuff aside- it was just a brilliant show.

 

They are a band that just need to be seen live. Their live shows allow you to see even moreso just how fantastic they are. If I could, I’d see them on every tour at every date. But shows like Friday’s in Manchester are treasured dearly.

Crocodiles new record, Love Is Here is out now and they have 2 more UK dates left before a couple of shows in Paris this week.

 





TYLER, THE CREATOR: Igor.

17 05 2019

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The above states how Tyler wants the record to be heard. If you do it any other way, you won’t get the full picture and appreciation for this record. By no means am I going to thrown in any comparisons here. What Tyler has done, yet again, is make something totally out there and unlike anything else we’ve heard, and will hear.

Igor isn’t a concept album, it’s not a rap album. It’s a straight up masterpiece that goes beyond being lumped into a meaningless genre, and sub-genre. With this record, you truly hear how much of a genius he is. Igor is 39 minutes of heaven. The songs will break your heart, but at the same time you’ll hear just how fantastic Tyler is with words. There is something about him that still needs to be appreciated more, and I feel that he’s overlooked so many times. Maybe he’s the underdog, who knows. But as a fan of his, I just idolise him. I get so excited for any music he puts out because I know that the only thing I can expect is to have my mind blown. I had no idea how Igor would sound, but the thing that you get from Tyler is- never expect anything because he will throw you off.

None of the songs can be labelled as my favourite. Every single song is insanely brilliant, and just effortlessly cool. There’s no fear here in going way off, and that’s something I really admire about T. He just has this way of taking you somewhere with his music that no one else can. Besides, he has Santigold on one of the songs and that alone makes the record great. There’s heartbreak on this record, but the way it is projected just makes you really feel it. It doesn’t leave you crippled in emotional distress. You sort of take on a “Fuck you, I’ll be alright” approach when you listen to it, which for the most part is something that has been evident in a lot of T’s songs.

A Boy Is A Gun is definitely up there as being a poetic masterpiece, it’s the sheer delivery of T’s words and the production too is just brilliant. In fact, the whole record is composed and produced in such a beautiful way. You can truly hear the care and devotion that has gone into this record, and that’s something again, I really respect about T. There are so many tender moments on this record, and these tender moments just make you fall even more in love with him. Puppet is a beautiful, and gentle song that just leaves you in awe of the level that Tyler is at. The whole record just blows you away. I’m honestly at a loss for words here because I really want to write something to truly explain how great this record, but I’m just taking it all in. I’ve played it about 4 times since it came out. I played it on my way to work, twice at work, and now. I can’t get enough of it.

Something I really love about this record is how Tyler goes from delicate songs right into something that smacks you right in the face- prime example of this is how he goes from Puppet to What’s Good.. What’s Good needs to be played ridiculously loud. He delivers his verses with so much energy, and can tame it down in the next breath. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it so well. I’d love to know what goes on in his mind when he makes his records. To just be around him when he’s making music must be so exciting. He makes you sometimes feel you are listening to more than one song at once, and this chaos he brings is so enjoyable. I just absolutely love him, so much. Gone,Gone/Thank You has this beautiful sadness to it. It’ll break your heart, but there is something about that just fills you with joy. He’s outdone himself yet again. It’s lyrically my favourite on the record. The way he really goes for it just blows me away.

This is probably the worst thing I’ve written about a record. Probably because I’m so excited about it, and I don’t know how to put this into words. All I know is that this is one of the greatest records of the year, and for me- Tyler’s greatest record so far. This is one to cling on to. This is one to play when you feel a bit lonely, lost and you just need something to hit you in the soul.

Every single one of these 12 songs is a masterpiece. It’s a record that you need to listen to with your undivided attention, and in order. Do not skip songs. Do not try listen to it on random. Lay on your bed and take the songs in. Go for a long walk, and take it all in. Head out to the beach, and soak in every element of this record. Love this record with all you have, and all you are.

 





THE MURDER CAPITAL.

13 05 2019

 

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With a name as dark, and as sinister as The Murder Capital- you’d hope that their sound is every part moody and brutal. They go beyond that, and in turn it makes them one of the most exciting bands around. I know nothing about The Murder Capital, but I sure as hell know I love their sound. I love how heavy it is, and I love this beautiful and magnetic darkness in the music and lyrics. There is honesty, there is eeriness and there is a wonderful glimpse of vulnerability within their songs. There is so much about The Murder Capital that makes them such an effortlessly brilliant band. There is something about them that stirs something within you, and once it grips you- that’s it.

Last month they supported Idles, which just shows how talented they are. Imagine being at that London show seeing two of the best bands around. Does it get better than that? Probably not.

There is this gorgeous desperation in the music, and it is evident on the song Green & Blue, where James’ vocals just shatter your heart in a way no other song has. His voice is powerful, but not in an overbearing way. He has this tone to his voice that can be brutal when needed but is fragile at the right moments. He truly shows this on Green & Blue. The Murder Capital have a distinctive sound that has you hooked on them immediately.

I wanted to wait a while before writing about them, because I really wanted to take the time to get to know the music rather than do my usual passion ramble about something I love. I’m aware it is annoying. The Murder Capital have got two songs up on their Spotify page, and those two songs are enough to make you fall in love, and believe in them. You just know that something truly remarkable is going to happen with them. I can’t wait to see it, I just know that when their debut record comes out- it’ll blow us all away. But in the meantime, I’ve got Feeling Fades (which has been produced by the genius that is, Flood) and Green & Blue on a loop. However, look below and you’ll be lucky enough to watch a stunning live performance of More Is Less, which is just a masterpiece.

The Murder Capital are a band that just HAVE to be heard. They must be heard as loud as you can stand. I’ve yet to see their live shows but something tells me it’s nothing short of a magical experience that will take over every single part of you. These five pals from Dublin are really one of the most exciting and powerful bands around. They have something about them that just makes you listen. I mean REALLY, REALLY listen to them. Their sound is intense, and it is the kind of intense that is in a record by The Birthday Party. You’re constantly on the edge of something, and you never know when it’ll hit. For me, that’s something I always look for in music. I want something to always keep me on edge. Which sounds a bit fucked really considering I’m on medication for depression and anxiety! Besides, music helps me out more and having something to listen to that throws you deep into the unknown is such a powerful feeling, and one that nothing else in the world can compare to.

The Murder Capital are quite frankly, going to blow your mind. Maybe you’ll catch onto them soon. Maybe in a few months, or a year. But when they grip you, embrace it. Really embrace it because bands like this do not happen¬† often.

 

*Photo credit: JustGrayce





DR CHAN: The Peer Hat, Manchester 3rd May 2019.

3 05 2019

 

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It’s obvious how much I love French Garage Rock Gods, Dr Chan. Any chance to write about them or tell someone about them, I’ll do it. You know when you hear something, and you can’t help but think, “Yep, this is the band for me.” Well, that’s what I got from them a couple of years ago when my obsession began.

I last saw Dr Chan live last year in London at the Lock Tavern. It was the last show I attended before I left that city and moved to Manchester. A move that I should have done years and years ago. It was the last show I went to, and it was the perfect way to leave that city. The room was packed and full of love; it was just a brilliant show. Last night, there was no more than 10 of us watching them. I don’t even think it got to double figures. I felt bad for the band because I know just how brilliant they are, and how they are the best at what they do. It didn’t dishearten the band though, they still played as if the room was full.

They blazed through songs from Southside Suicide and Squire. I’m pretty sure that these are my most played records. I love how they just take you somewhere with their music, and give you that opportunity to zone out and forget everything. Yesterday I had a pretty stressful day, but as soon as Dr Chan hit the stage- I was calm again.

I really loved hearing the songs off their most recent record, Squire, last night. Growing Up is probably my favourite off that record and it’s an absolute joy to see live. They play with this effortlessly cool stance, and you can tell how much they love doing it. When you get that from a band, you know that you have found something really beautiful. It’s just an absolute pleasure to watch them.

Dr Chan make the kind of music that I’d want to make. It’s a raw Garage Rock sound, and they are unafraid to really push their sound. For instance, their record Southside Suicide sounds nothing like Squire- but you still know it is them. They have a distinct sound, but aren’t afraid to change it up. They do this so well in their live shows, and as sad as I am that not many of us were there last night, I’m just happy that they played a show here in Manchester. They’re playing the Shacklewell Arms in London tonight I think, and if I still lived there- I’d have been right at the front again.

There’s a handful of bands I love that I would happily go see live every night, and Dr Chan are easily one of them. On record they are brilliant, but something remarkable happens during their live shows. They transform songs like The Sinner and Bloody No$e into something else live, and it’s just a pleasure to watch.

For me, I can easily say that Dr Chan are one of the best bands I’ve seen live and are most certainly one of my favourite bands in general. I love how they can take you to the streets of Paris or make you feel like you’re hanging out at a skatepark. They’ve got something about them that comforts you within the lyrics (this is really apparent on the Squire record) and the music alone just does something to you. Alexin is a great song-writer, and to see the growth into their new record is just astounding.

I can’t tell you enough just how great they are. My only advice is, listen to them and if you see that they are playing a venue near you- go see them!





THE COATHANGERS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 29th April 2019.

30 04 2019

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The Coathangers have been around for a hell of a long time, and it is no surprise that they are one of the best bands around- live and on record. Last night they played one of Manchester’s best venues, the Soup Kitchen. It was the perfect venue for this band. In a dark and sweaty basement was a lot of noise brewing and it was sublime.

The band are made up of three exceptional musicians who swap instruments for a couple of songs during the set- this alone sets them apart from others, and shows just how effortlessly brilliant they are. If you are wanting a solid Garage Rock sound mixed with something to straight up blow your mind, then you need to see The Coathangers live. There is something about their live shows that leaves you wanting more and more.

Something I really love about The Coathangers is that some of their songs have a relaxed feel to it, like Warpaint but then you’ve got those heavier songs like Crimson Telephone (which is amazing live) reminds me of LA Witch. What I’m getting at is, The Coathangers are a band that you’ve just got to invest in. Buy the records, go to their shows. There is something about their live shows that have a Bikini Kill feel to it- rowdy, inspiring and wonderful.

Personally, my favourite song to hear last night was Perfume. I just really, really love that song and it was just perfect to see live.

Hey Buddy is sung by Stephanie who whilst singing, is beating the shit out of the drums. I have massive respect for anyone who can drum and sing at the same time. Stephanie does it in a way that makes you wish you could do it. It’s again, another brilliant moment in their set. They just make you wish you could play like them. They truly are a phenomenal band, who just make you wish you could follow them on tour.

Meredith is such a mesmerising bass player. She’s got this effortlessly cool way of executing brutal basslines, especially on Stranger Danger. She just annihilates it. Julia is also hypnotic, she can sing soft and she can really hit you in the gut with her vocals. It is perfectly evened out with Stephanie’s vocals. Their vocals are opposite, and they work so well but it all comes together in unison on F The NRA, which is one of their most important songs. It’s a real gnarly Punk song that needs to be played and heard as loudly as possible. I love how hardly anyone had their phones out to record songs or take photos, everyone was just in the moment and it was truly beautiful to see.

With their sixth record released in March, it is safe to say that The Coathangers are exceptional, hard-working and one of the most exciting bands around. They play songs from most of their records, and everyone goes nuts for it. There is no denying how talented they are, and how loved they are. They are truly one of the most exciting bands around, and can still make you feel like you’re discovering them for the first time with every single listen.

It was an absolute honour and pleasure to finally see them live last night, and I doubt it’ll be my last time.

VIVA THE COATHANGERS!





SUEDE: Albert Hall, Manchester. 19th & 20th April 2019.

23 04 2019

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Over the weekend, I finally got to see a band who I have adored since I first heard them in 1993. It was Animal Nitrate that got me. I was only 7 years old, but I remember being in absolute awe of Brett Anderson. Everything about him just had me hooked. His voice, the way he moved and the way he looked. A few years later I had the same experience when I heard Garbage for the first time. I wanted to be Shirley Manson.

Suede were my childhood, and their music has been my everything ever since. I never thought they’d be a band that I would see live, let alone two nights in a row. How do you prepare yourself to see a band that you’ve grown up with and have been your world? Quite simply, you don’t. What you do is bawl like a baby as soon as they set foot on to the stage. Which is what my girlfriend and I did. Suede is the band that are ours, and to finally see a band that we love together was just incredible.

There is no denying that Brett is an exceptional frontman. The energy he has and the way he moves puts newer bands to shame. He leaps across the stage like a gazelle, and has the voice of an angel. Known for going into the crowd during some songs, he has his shirt ripped both nights. He sings the songs with such importance, as the torn fabric of his shirt is swaying to the breeze of the on-stage fan behind him. He lassoes his mic around him, and above the crowd like a ringleader. He then wraps it around his body and neck; he does it in a way that has him grinning directly at Simon (the exceptional drummer) and it is just the most beautiful moment between the two.

Why did we go two nights in a row? Well, I convinced myself that the set list would be different. I’m hardly ever right, but thankfully I was this time. Although they could perform the alphabet and I’d still think it was the best thing ever. Let me just explain to you why night one was out of this world:

  • Acoustic version of Mistress
  • Sleeping Pills (I cried a lot during this)
  • The Drowners
  • It Starts And Ends With You.

How is that for back to back Suede gold? Absolutely perfect. It was my version of Christmas. So how was night two going to compete? Acoustic versions of She’s In Fashion and The Wild Ones (I bawled my eyes out to this.) The Wild Ones is one of the most gorgeous songs ever written, and to hear it in this stripped back way was so overwhelming in the most beautiful way possible. Both nights were truly magical, and just reinforced my love for this brilliant band. Nothing and no one compares to them, and two nights of seeing them just wasn’t enough. I need more, I want more.

They played one of, if not the best venue in Manchester- the Albert Hall. An old church with its stained glass windows. There was something about this venue that made the shows out of this world. The band all looked in awe of their surroundings, with Brett occasionally hitting his heart to show his appreciation.

The crowd was wonderful. Every single song was sung back as if you were in a stadium, and songs like Trash and We Are The Pigs were screamed back at the band in a way that just oozes sheer devotion, love and obsession. You can truly see how much the band love each other, their fans and playing live. They are easily one of the best bands I have ever seen live. I had no idea what to expect from the shows, but it’s claimed a large piece of my heart for sure.

The shows end with Beautiful Ones and the gorgeous Life Is Golden (a song which is for Brett’s son.) To see people sing the words back at Brett to Life Is Golden is truly something else. He steps into the crowd, and clings onto the fans as he sings “You’re never alone”¬†is so precious and something that stays with you.

These two shows were some of the greatest ones I’ve ever been to. For sentimental value, it’s easily one of the most important and the songs played were heavenly. It felt like an almost religious experience, and is something I am going to remember and treasure for a hell of a long time.