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.

 





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.





AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS: The Deaf Institute, Manchester. 6th April 2019.

6 04 2019

“I’m poor, I’m broke, but I’m just fine.”

You know how the world and its mother insists that they were at the Sex Pistols gig decades and decades ago at the Lesser Free Trade Hall? Well, tonight at The Deaf Institute, Amyl and The Sniffers gave off that feeling- this was a gig that EVERYONE wanted to be at. I feel bad for those who didn’t see that their set was at half 8, and walked in just as their show was coming to an end.

I was right at the back, but I saw it all. I was right at the back and not near speakers, but I can’t hear properly. That alone makes it a brilliant show. As someone who has panic attacks a fair amount, I was convinced this would be the reason why I wouldn’t be able to make the show tonight. But I went. No hint of anxiety was there, and amongst a room full of sweaty strangers- I felt safe. I was in my own world. I needed this. I needed to witness this beautiful form of chaos and see a band that I absolutely adore, for the first time.

The first thing I want to talk about is their cover of Deceptacon by Le Tigre. A song that is just obviously one of the best. Le Tigre mean a lot to me, anything Kathleen Hanna does means a lot to me. She’s a fucking goddess, and seeing Amyl and The Sniffers put this song in their set tonight gave me that feeling I got when I first heard Kathleen Hanna’s voice.

The first thing you notice about Amyl and The Sniffers is their energy. If you’re feeling a bit shitty, go to one of their shows or just listen to their music. It’ll do something to you that nothing else will. This gig tonight was truly something else, and I don’t think any band has ever ripped The Deaf Institute apart like this before. There was a mosh pit immediately, Amy stage dived a few times, she handed the mic around to the crowd (one lucky person made it on stage to sing with her for a few seconds before security clocked on.) It was a show that made you feel some type of way. It made you feel alive, and I know that sounds so corny but it really gave you that intense feeling. I love how Amy has this massive grin on her face the whole time. You can tell that they all love playing shows so much, and it truly shows on their faces and the way they all play with this strong and united energy, which flows right into the crowd instantly.

70s Street Munchies was one of my many highlights. It’s easily my favourite song by them, but seeing it live just hyped the song up even more for me. I love how Amyl and The Sniffers are such a strong Punk band yet they don’t make it feel clichéd or make it sound like something we’ve all heard before. They’re doing it their way, and it’s nothing short of perfect. Westgate and Mole (Sniff Sniff) were intense and brilliant. New songs like Monsoon Rock were incredible. Monsoon Rock has this really brutal intro, it’s incredible. I’m Not A Loser and Stole My Push Bike saw everyone go totally nuts and lose their shit. I loved, LOVED Balaclava Lover Boogie so much. I love how this song has this almost Funk rhythm to it- for me, Amy’s vocals on this are my favourite, easily. She has this way of screaming the songs at you but they do not have any hints of intimidation to it. You listen. You listen intensely, and shout the words back. You cannot take your eyes off the band, they are all just a sheer joy to watch, and will leave you wishing, “I wish I could do that.”

They may have only been making music together for a couple of years, but if you heard them and knew nothing about them- you’d have thought that they have been together for decades and are either as band that spilled out of New York in the 70s, or were part of the Riot Grrrl movement in the 90s. What I’m getting at is basically, they take everything I am in love with about music and just blow your mind. They’re like the Ramones meets Bikini Kill, but at the same time they are just unlike anything else.

On record they blow your mind, but live they absolutely burst your eardrums. Tonight’s show in Manchester was nothing short of rambunctious joy. Nobody was stood still at this show; as soon as the band came on stage there was this glorious roar in the crowd, and that energy went straight into the band.

Of all the shows I’ve been to, I really don’t think I’ve seen this much energy in a room before. I hope some people who were there left wanting to start their own band or movement. The atmosphere was nothing less than what I’d expect from a Manchester crowd. They’re the best crowd, always. There was just so much love and respect in the room, and it just added to the beauty of the show.

I really cannot praise Amyl and The Sniffers enough, and something tells me that this will not be the last time I go see this band. They leave you wishing you could be at their shows every night because sometimes, you just need that raw and rowdy feel from a show. They give you it, and a hell of a lot more. Drinks flew, items of clothing ended up on stage and hearing was probably lost by most of us. A memorable show, for sure.

Go see them. Stand at the back and soak up the atmosphere, or go right into the depths of the crowd and throw your body around with everyone else. Wherever you are, you’ll just feel part of this truly mind-blowing experience, and you’ll probably compare everything else you listen to or any show you go to, to them.





THE VOIDZ: O2 Ritz, Manchester. 7th November 2018.

8 11 2018

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If you’re ever wanting to see some of the world’s most talented musicians put on a show, then for your own sanity- go see The Voidz. Everything about the show last night was just utterly mind-blowing. It’s 7:40am and I’m going to try explain why this was one of the most inspiring and earth-shattering shows I’ve ever seen.

Let’s get it out the way first; The Voidz are fronted by the coolest person in the world, Julian Casablancas. However, if you are thinking it’s all about him then you’re dead wrong. The band is unreal, and left you wishing you could be as cool as them. So there you have it; it isn’t about Jules- it’s about the whole damn band. Oh and please stop assuming they are going to play a bunch of songs from The Strokes. Ain’t happening, kiddo. The Voidz have records that are eccentric and mind-blowing. They’ll fuck with your head, and that’s why you love them so.

They open the set with Leave It In My Dreams, and to be honest that just sets the tone for the whole set. It is full of this raw emotion that Jules conveys so well in his voice. His voice is so distinctive, and you just know it is him when you hear it. The way he can project it so it fills up the whole room is pretty damn spectacular. They blitz through the show with M.utually A.ssured D.estruction and Permanent High School most certainly being my favourite. But there’s something that needs touching on- Amir and Beardo.

If you’re ever looking for two guitarists to be left in awe of, then open your mind up to Amir and Beardo. The way they sound together is just nothing short of guitar heaven. I swear Beardo is the happiest person I have ever seen on stage. His smile and stage presence is a thing of beauty. He totally hams it up on stage, and you cannot help but grin like a total buffoon back at him. He’s absolutely mesmirising. Amir too, has the same quality. They both bounce off each other, and as Jules steps back from the stage- you truly notice what this band are about. They are loud, the songs are important and the way they sound together is just stunning. If I could think of my dream line-up, I’m pretty sure these guys would be it. The Voidz are the body of Punk, the soul of Punk and the heart of Punk. But they’re not a Punk band- they’re out there, and they aren’t afraid to truly push themselves.

There’s an improvised song early in the show when Jules spots a young kid in the audience. His concern for if the kid is old enough to be there, and if they have headphones on causes him to suggest that the kid shouldn’t be so close to the speakers. Anyway, if it was the first show that the kid had been to then they are pretty damn lucky.

For some of the shows they’ve mixed up the set which is pretty great, and the show last night was just a perfect set. The show ended on Human Sadness. But we were also treated to Black Hole and Dare I Care. Songs like Wink were greeted with such rapture. In fact, every song was.

There is something really remarkable about The Voidz and it truly comes to life at their shows. Alex is such a ferocious drummer, and you have Jeff and Jacob who add a calmness to the set. But don’t let that fool you. The Voidz, like I said, are made up of exceptional musicians. Musicians who know exactly how they want to sound and aren’t afraid to experiment and push themselves, and for me that’s what makes a band great. On record they are obviously perfect, by my god their live shows are out of this world.

The Voidz are loud, passionate and brutal. They aren’t coming for your blood, but just your undivided attention- which is pretty easy to give.