BEACH HOUSE: Albert Hall, Manchester. 19th October 2018.

20 10 2018

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We all have a band that we adore seeing live. A band that when we see them, just makes everything better. It gives you this sense of belonging, and finding “home.” Live music is so powerful, and when it is one of the bands you unconditionally love- it means so much more.

Prior to last night’s show, I had seen Beach House twice in London a couple of years ago. I was just in awe of the lighting, the way they sounded and how electric the atmosphere was. I’ve never connected with London, so to see them in my newly adopted home- Manchester, was just a dream come true. Since 2006, Beach House have been a band that have meant the world to me, and have always been the most comforting sound. To see them in such a beautiful venue in the best city in the world, was just perfect.

Albert Hall is one of Manchester’s best venues and just a beautiful building. An old converted church that was just perfect for Beach House. To see the silhouettes of people dancing against the stain glass windows was so moving, and to see a sea of people getting completely and utterly lost in the music was such a thing of beauty. There was a person at the front of the stage wearing a yellow hoodie (I think) and from where I was sitting, I could see exactly how much the music means to him. They were reacting how I have done so many times at shows. This was the first time I had seen Beach House and not cried. Their music is everything to me, and to see someone else react like I do and have done was just so moving. Victoria noticed the person, and she went over to them. It was such a beautiful moment. Victoria has this presence on stage that, although you know she is shy, she has this gorgeous aura about her that is so soothing. To see her be this way towards a fan was such a lovely and touching moment.

Beach House played 18 songs. 18 songs that filled the venue with love and comfort. Songs that mean the world to us all. Beach House have enough records for you to want to see them live all the time, and B-sides to make you even more addicted to them. Their set list last night was just perfect. I could not have dreamed up a better list of songs to hear. I mean sure, classics like Lover Of Mine and Apple Orchard but it’s the rarer songs that really hit you in the gut. The reaction that everyone’s favourite, Myth has is just beautiful.  Walk In The Park was the most sentimental song for me. I’ve used that song so many times as a way out of whatever was going on.

The drums on 10 Mile Stereo blew my mind completely. Every time I’ve seen them, this song has always been played and every single time it just moves me. It is such a brilliant song, and to see it live never ever gets old. Alex and Victoria are nothing short of brilliant musicians. Victoria hides behind her hair, but her presence is so big and so wonderful. She doesn’t need to make pointless conversation or behave a certain way in order for you to pay attention. Her voice is so calming. Beach House are a band I listen to after I’ve had a panic attack, so I do listen to them a hell of a lot! There is something so reassuring about Alex’s hypnotic guitar and Victoria’s gentle voice. It feels like you’re being guided towards something your mind can’t always take you to. Beach House take you there, always.

Beach House have always been a band I use as a guide and just a form of security. Their live shows most certainly reinforce all of this. I adored seeing Wishes, Girl of the Year and Norway so much. Norway and Lazuli are two songs that I treat as my crutch at times, and every element of these songs just calms me down. 18 songs don’t feel like enough. It went by so fast, and I just wanted to hear more and more. The lighting wouldn’t make an epileptic feel too great, but it makes the show. The lights are in time to certain moments of the songs. Myth and Lemon Glow for me, really came to life and the lights just made you feel like you were in an abandoned swimming pool, and Beach House just give you this pure and joyous experience that no other band can give you. You feel like you’re floating and unaware of what is happening in the outside world. Music is the perfect escape, and Beach House just fill you with this feeling of freedom that no other band ever has.

Was this one of the best shows I’ve ever been to? Of course it was. I loved how diverse the crowd was, and the amount of love shown for the band. And the way that Beach House reciprocated it, was nothing short of perfect.

Beach House are a band that you just have to see. On record they ease your soul, and their live shows go above and beyond this. With each record they find new ways to captivate you, and for me their live shows do exactly the same every single time.

 

 

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TABLE SCRAPS. The Castle, Manchester. 04/10/2018

5 10 2018

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Whilst living in London, I missed many chances to see a band I quite frankly adore, and am obsessed with. My missed chances came down to clashes with other plans, public transport being a shithead and my own misgivings- panic attacks. The thought of potentially going out on my own would more often than not cause me to feel like I was, to put it heavily but honestly- dying. I still get that feeling. This week I’ve noticed it happening, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I left a city that was pretty much killing me in all ways possible, and now I’m finally settled in a place I should have been in many years ago. Why is this relevant? It probably isn’t. I’ve been up since 5am. I’ve done my washing, ironed (I know!!) some clothes and to my disgust, drank coffee because I wanted to see if it would help me stay awake. I’m now at work. I start at 8, I’ve got 15 minutes to tell you about why last night’s show was brilliant. Please note: the coffee hasn’t helped at all and I really want to take a nap.

Table Scraps are quite frankly one of the best bands you will ever see. I’m not exaggerating with this one. You want riffs that melt your face? Got it. You want vocals that beautifully burst your eardrums? Got it. You want the bass to sail through you and make you move in ways you didn’t know you could? Best believe you’ve got it. Oh, and you want the drums to sound like some higher being is in the room? Got it, and then some. Table Scraps are three musicians who, in my eyes (and ears) are HUGELY underrated. On record, it is obvious how amazing they are. But when you see them live, it’s totally different. The Castle is a tiny venue. It’s a pub with a small back room, which is basically a sauna. Last night was a sweatfest, and I don’t think it could have been better any other way. Scott is EASILY one of the best guitarists around. In fact, he’s most certainly up there with being one of the best I’ve ever seen. He makes his guitar sound like a machine gun being wielded by a maniac. This is purely down to the way he thrashes his guitar about and gives you this face-melting solos when you least expect it.

Let’s talk about Poppy and her being probably the best drummer you’ll see. There’s a couple of drummers I love hearing, and seeing them play live. I’ve got my list on my mind, and I’ve pushed Poppy to the top because I honestly don’t think I’ll ever witness anything or anyone as great as her again. I know fuck all about playing music, I just love music as a fan and write as one. I don’t know what the technical terms are or whatever, but let’s just go with Poppy being the best drummer around- and most definitely in this country. Again, she treats her drums as a weapon. Every beat is felt in your chest, and you move to the perfect timings. Then we move on to Tim. The tallest bass player I ever did meet. The bassist is the backbone of a band, but with Table Scraps that doesn’t occur. They are all the backbone of the band. I love the way Tim guides and glides us through the songs. He isn’t as manic as Scott is, but don’t let his cool, calm stance fool you. He’s got this subtle way of making you pay close attention to what he is doing. And what is he doing? Making you witness that the bass can be equally as aggressive as the drums and guitar.

Table Scraps annihilate the stage at The Castle, and blow our minds. My personal favourite was I’m A Failure. It’s my favourite song by them, and I was super happy to see it live. This is only the second time they have played Manchester and I sincerely hope it isn’t the last. Just give them a residency at The Castle or Soup Kitchen. But to be honest, they are a band that could easily play a huge arena and win people over. There is something about them, and I rarely say this because I love small venues, but there is something about Table Scraps that makes you want to see them play a huge stadium. Their sound is massive, and it is meant to be heard by us all. I honestly don’t see why they couldn’t sell out a huge venue, and just rip us all to shreds with their brutal sound. I hope one day they get there, because they truly deserve it.

The set ends with the excellent, Motorcycle (Straight To Hell) which sees Scott launch himself into the crowd for a few seconds, and the end of this song is greeted with Scott, Poppy and Tim just going absolutely nuts on stage. It was the perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

If you ever get the chance to see them, GO. You’ll probably be a bit deaf the morning after but it’s worth it. They are truly one of the most talented, coolest, greatest and best bands around.

Oh, and one last thing- they’ve got a tape out on Burger Records. Do you know how big a deal that is?! HUGE.





SEXTILE: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 16/09/2018.

16 09 2018

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If you ever wondered what Suicide and Cold Cave would sound like if they launched head first into each other, they would sound like Sextile. I’ve been a HUGE fan of the band for quite some time now, and last night I finally got to see their live show. When I lived in London, my two favourite venues were The Old Blue Last and The Shacklewell Arms. Now I’m in Manchester, I wondered if I would find a venue that could have the same dark, basement feel. Soup Kitchen was the host of the show last night, and my god it is just the perfect venue for a band like Sextile. If I was in a band, this is where I would want to play. Over the past three years I wondered what their show would be like, and last night just exceeded every single expectation I had.

One of the many things that I loved about the show was how Brady commands the stage without even having to engage in pointless talk between songs. He has this way about him that just makes you walk closer towards the stage and really listen. He’s like a preacher with the way he is on stage. He’s got this wonderful presence about him that makes you wish you could see this band every night. Melissa is one of the best drummers you’ll ever see. She’s got a Bobby Gillespie sound going on (think Psychocandy) and as she stands towering over her drum kit hitting the drum skins with such passion without breaking a sweat is just amazing. She’s effortlessly cool. Apologies for my ignorance, but I cannot remember the name of the guitarist- all I know is that she was brilliant, and during the second to last song she joined Melissa on the drums and they both had this tribal-like sound going on.

Friday saw the band release the EP titled, 3. I’ll be writing about that soon but for now let’s stick with the show. They played most of the EP, and it was so great to hear it live. I’ve been playing 3 on my journey to and from work on Friday, and I loved the grittiness of it. I love how they have a Gang Of Four sound going on mixed with The Vacant Lots. The band may be from L.A but they definitely sound like a band that have been roaming the alleyways of Berlin during a harsh winter. They absolutely ripped through the song, Paradox last night and it was definitely one of the songs that made the crowd go nuts.

I’ve always said that Manchester crowds are the best, and last night’s show was a prime example of this. The crowd was made up of people just having the best time dance so care free to a band that they love. The atmosphere was brilliant, and who cares that the show didn’t sell out. It’s better to have the right amount of fans there who love the band rather than a group of drunk idiots stumble in and be obnoxious. Sextile are equally captivating on stage as they are on record. The venue was perfect for as band like this. You felt like you had fallen into the hands of a cult as soon as they stepped on stage. I loved when they performed Drop You (it’s my current favourite from the new EP) but to be honest, they could have just performed a whole bunch of nonsense and I would have loved it. I just love this band so much. I think this might have been only their second time playing the UK and since then, their line-up has changed but regardless of band members- Sextile are just fantastic.

When they performed, Who Killed Six, that’s when it really kicked in how much I loved the show and wish it could have lasted forever. I LOVE this song so much and it’s my favourite off Albeit Living. Its song that I love playing ridiculously loud, and to witness it live was just nothing short of perfect for me. I’ve not been to many shows this year, but this is the one I’ll be holding very dear to me.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Sextile live, GO.





PURPLE HEART PARADE: Lonestar EP.

11 09 2018

 

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If two bands I idolise collided and created a record together, it would sound like the new Purple Heart Parade record, Lonestar. They sound like The Stone Roses and Beach House all in one. Although my biggest love is Punk, hearing something this laid back and nothing short of ethereal is just beautiful. I’m going to do my best to explain why this is such a gorgeous record, and what makes it so wonderful.

Manchester is home to some of the best music that this country has produced. There’s this underlying sound within Manchester bands that give them this distinctive style. It’s something no other city could ever replicate, even though I am sure they try. I don’t blame them. In March this year, I finally got my shit together and moved to Manchester after waiting for a hell of a long time. Being able to call this beautiful city home makes me so happy. Listening to bands that come from this city is just as great. What Purple Heart Parade have done with this record is create the most daring and atmospheric record of the year. It just makes you feel really good. We all need something to take us away from real life for a bit, and Purple Heart Parade take you on this euphoric journey into another dimension. Everything you want is there, and more.

Lonestar is made up of four songs. Four songs that will rip right through you. Four songs that’ll make you feel ten feet tall. Four songs that will feel like a massive bear hug. It’s such a gentle and soothing record. I want to talk about the song, Butterfly House quickly. This song is just over six minutes long, and it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. When I listen to this, I feel just like I did when I first heard Beach House many years ago. There’s this glow to this  song that just makes you so happy. The instrumental moments on this record in general just make you realise that everyone in this band is a genius, easily. Everything about this band is effortlessly cool and so slick.

The most important song of all on this record is Mission Hills. The bands explanation of the song puts it perfectly: “The song is about emotional distance in a relationship but also the loss of a close friend, a victim of the tragic Manchester Arena attack. The band don’t just capture the sound of their hometown but also carry a part of it with them in a very personal way.” I don’t know of anyone who lives here that doesn’t think of the Arena attack every day. It’s always at the back of my mind, some days it’s right at the front. It is such a stunning song, and although it oozes sadness you feel like you are watching a bunch of shooting stars soar right across the night sky as if they are sending you secret messages. You can take what you wish from it. It’s such an important song, and as I listen to it I can feel a lump forming in my throat. It’s just such a delicate and beautiful song. It may make you sad to listen to it, but my god it is a work of art.

Lonestar and The Room make you feel like you have fallen into a deep slumber. Everything around you feels like a dream. You have no worries and no fears. All is okay. There is a heavy feel of reassurance in this record that makes you feel okay, like it’s all going to be okay. It is such an emotional record, and Peter’s vocals are so relaxing. Purple Heart Parade just make you feel at ease with all that’s around you. For a band to give you this much comfort is a thing to treasure. It’s obvious that Purple Heart Parade are one of the best bands around. They’re the Kings of Manchester, that much is clear too.

My praise for this record isn’t enough, so please go out and buy it- and listen to it religiously.

#Bemoremartyn.

 





GARBAGE: 20 Years Paranoid Tour. 9th September 2018. Manchester Academy.

10 09 2018

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There are some experiences in life that can never be replicated. There are some moments where words do not do what you have been through justice. Last night I saw Garbage perform a record in full that came out 20 years ago. This is the record that saved my life. This isn’t an exaggeration; it’s the truth. Music has, and always will be my crutch but Version 2.0 helped me in ways, and still helps me in ways nothing else has. Or could.

This isn’t a typical review of a show. This wasn’t just me going to see a band play live. This was something else. This was an outer-body experience. It was part healing, part saving, part something that I do not know how to put into words.

There were a few songs I knew would break me. I tried listening to one in particular a few days before the show and I couldn’t make it through. How was I going to cope seeing it live? As soon as the opening notes to Medication kicked in, I suddenly wished I was on a higher dose of sertraline. My mind and body couldn’t really come together to fathom what I was experiencing. The brutal truth; Medication got me through being bullied all through secondary school, it got me through the years and years of self-loathing and what comes with it. Just read the lyrics, it’s fairly obvious how I coped. Do I regret it? No. Am I ashamed? Not at all. We all cope differently. So when I heard this song last night, I went back to the days of feeling like I did then. But something happened- it wasn’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of relief knowing that I don’t have to carry that feeling around ever again. Sure I have to face depression and anxiety every day- but certain feelings aren’t there no more.

A moment that truly stood out was Shirley crying at the response we gave the band. But, what else could they expect? People that were there last night were people who idolise the band, who have had their lives saved by them, who use the strength in the band make it theirs. Last night’s show was the best show I’ve ever been to- the main reason being what the record means to me. However, the reaction from everyone was just so beautiful, and totally backs up my theory that crowds in Manchester are just the best.

I loved when Shirley went into Personal Jesus during Wicked Ways. It went perfectly, and was something I just wanted to last forever. I also loved Dreams by Fleetwood Mac being sung by Shirley towards the end of You Look So Fine. That song has always made me cry for reasons I’ll never understand, and to hear Shirley sing You Look So Fine and expose just how vulnerable the song is was just something else. Push It sent everyone nuts- it was incredible. I was stood right at the back, but to see everyone go off for this song was so beautiful. The crowd was made up of every background you can imagine, and it was just a beautiful sea of people coming together to see the band that they adore. There is no better feeling.

Every B-side was played, and my personal favourite was Solider Through This. It’s been a song I have loved since I heard it years and years ago. I loved the fragility in it. I loved Shirley’s speech before she went into it. She said relationships shouldn’t be difficult, that they should be easy. I truly felt that- I was stood next to my girlfriend, my best friend as she said this. There was no one else I’d want to see my favourite band with, and allow them to see me ugly cry like that. Although a difficult song for her to sing live (the lyrics justify why) Shirley’s voice on this was one of my favourite moments of the show. Shirley’s voice at this show was nothing short of mind-blowing. I have never heard anyone sound so tough and powerful. There’s a note in this song near the end that she totally annihilates and every single part of me is covered in goose bumps. She does this numerous of times throughout the show, and I think it’s us, the crowd that make her sound louder than she ever has. I was just in awe of her voice and how Butch, Eric, Duke and Steve play with this energy that puts newer bands to shame.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing was the song that made me cry the most. I’ve never ever cried like that at a show before, and I never will again-unless it’s seeing this song. This song was my lifeline for so long, and it still is. It’s my go to song when everything is too much or when I just need some form of reassurance. I used to repeat the chorus in my head as I walked the corridors at school and had this feeling in my stomach knowing what I was about to face. This song got me through it, and I am forever in debt to Garbage for this song.

When you go to a Garbage show, you are enamoured by all of them. You focus on Shirley stalking the stage like a hungry panther, Butch makes you wish you could play the drums, Duke is the coolest person on the planet, Steve has this laid-back stance but you know he is playing with everything he’s got and Eric drives the band on. I’ve never seen such a perfect bunch of musicians like this before. They fit together. Their bond is just so beautiful.

Excuse the pun, but it was such a special show. Every song made me feel like I was going back 20 years ago to hear this record for the first time all over again. I loved that there were little kids at the show wearing massive headphones-imagine that being your first show you ever go to! Those kids have cool families. I love how this show just brought so many people together all for the same reason. I loved hearing The World Is Not Enough,  Dumb and their cover of Can’t Seem To Make You Mine. Temptation Waits blew my mind a stupid amount! I wanted the show to keep going forever. In my head, it still is. I’m emotionally exhausted from it and I’ve had about 5 hours sleep. I feel like I am still at the show. I want to always stay in that moment.

The show ended perfectly on their cover of Starman. That song has always made me cry (what doesn’t… I know!) and to hear them sing this song, it kind of felt like the band were saying “Stay weird and don’t let anyone take it from you. Ever.” Just like Bowie always did. The way Shirley sings this makes you realise she has definitely studied his performances, and she did the song justice. They all did. They made this song theirs but in a way, you knew it was a tribute and it was so perfectly done.

I never thought I’d see/hear the songs live that saved my life. I never thought I’d experience it. It meant more to me than these words I’ve written can express. If on the off-chance they read this- thank you. You helped this kid deal with more than they could carry, and make it to adulthood.





BLEACH BODY.

26 08 2018

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Manchester. Home of many amazing things, places and people. The amount of exceptional bands that have come from this beautiful city is something to be hugely proud of, and adding to this grand list is Bleach Body. Three musicians who make delightful noise.

For those wanting something a bit obscure and something incredibly loud, I give you Bleach Body.  This Manchester based band make the kind of music that’ll make you feel as if your bones are shattering and your mind is being blown. They’ll posses you with their sound and cause an earthquake (of sorts) inside of you.

They’ve been going for over a year now, and they released a couple of new recordings about a week ago. It’s just two songs, but those two songs are enough to make you see just how great they are. I love the sheer urgency in the song Guts. I love how it is delivered with such rage and like I just mentioned, urgency. There is something about this song that just oozes the need to be heard. It’s not even three minutes long but in a short amount of time, you really get what Bleach Body are about on this song. The insane instrumental for the last 50 seconds of the song is out of this world. It’s so ferocious and something to keep going back, and just keep on hitting repeat- or to just cut to that moment because it’s so good!

They are unapologetically loud and a delight to listen to. They’re in the same league as a band I will constantly champion- Table Scraps. They’ve got something about them that just makes you stop what you’re doing. Nothing else can take your attention away from them, there’s something in the music that just revives you and makes you aware that you’ve really never heard anything like this before. This is with just one song. Can they do it with another? Come on now, you know they bloody well can.

Happy Is The New Healthy is just as loud and just as brutal. The slight distortion in the vocals mixed with the shit-kicking drums is something I really love about them. I love when a band obviously pushes themselves with their music and how they always have this admirable raw sound in the music. I have huge love for Bleach Body because they are able to just put everything I love about music in their sound, and have created something that towers over most. Happy Is The New Healthy is most certainly a song that feels like you’ve been beaten black and blue by the end of it, and I’m pretty sure that their live shows will have you feeling exactly the same.

I’ve found a number of new (to me) bands to love this year. Bands that have definitely justified my love of music and my love of writing about bands I absolutely adore. I can easily but Bleach Body up there. They are one of the most remarkable bands I’ve heard this year, and I’m so excited to hear more from them. In just two songs that have created something truly spectacular and something to definitely pay close attention to. For a band to leave such an impression in just two songs is really worth investing in. I love how loud they are, I love how utterly fearless their sound it and I love that they sound unlike anything/anyone else. I really cannot wait to hear more from them.

Manchester. Home of many incredible things, places, people and bands. Bleach Body are in that list of incredible bands from this wonderful city that I am so proud to call home.





METRO VERLAINE: Band On The Wall 11/05/2018.

16 05 2018

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On Friday evening, my girlfriend and I went to see one of the best bands from France. In fact, they are probably one of the best bands I have ever seen. Metro Verlaine make music for the dark romantics, music for those who love the eerie side of music. When you see them play, you will immediately be drawn in and hooked forever. A 30 minute set wasn’t enough, and quite frankly- they should have played for another hour!

Metro Verlaine consist of four band members, but during live shows they have my generation’s greatest guitarist- Charlie Rowell (from Crocodiles) who has produced their debut record, Cut-Up. The record is nothing short of phenomenal and brings together everything I love about music. There are resemblances to The Cure and Joy Division. They are definitely influenced by English bands that posses a dark sound but they make it their own.

Raphaëlle  is easily one of the best singers you will ever see. She has such a powerful and amazing voice. She made us feel like we weren’t in a tiny room, she made us feel as if we were in a stadium or in a cathedral. She has such a grand voice, and although you get hints of it on record- it really gets you in the gut during their live shows.

I absolutely adored how the drummer doesn’t use a full kit (think Bobby G when he was in The Jesus And Mary Chain) but makes this incredible noise regardless. He’s louder than most, and I loved that so much. Something that is worth paying attention to with Metro Verlaine is just how effortlessly together they are and how in tune they are with each other. I’m not sure how long they have known each other prior to starting the band, but when you watch them on stage you pick up on this incredible bond. Most of the time they don’t need to say anything to each other, a simple look says it all. Sure I hate the word but the band are just so cool. Maybe it’s because they are French and they have this class to their sound and style that makes you wish you were like them. If I could sing, I’d want the power and range that Raphaëlle possess. I sincerely hope she becomes someone who singers to come cite her as an influence because she’s truly something else. She dances on stage so freely and takes that deep into the crowd. All you can do is watch on in awe.

Cut-Up is a mighty fine record and to hear these songs in a live setting makes you appreciate the record even more. Of course they are criminally underrated, but in time they’ll probably take over the world. They’ve already taken over mine.

Something I really loved about them is their love for Manchester. They are vocal about this and their song, Manchester is a beautiful ode to the greatest city in the world. Everyone on stage plays such a vital role in making the crowd move, each of them leave you wishing you were as cool as them. The only downside was the venue cutting their set way too short. They played for just under half an hour; they could have easily headlined and/or played for another hour or so. Even if they didn’t have enough songs to play for hours, I’d be happy to hear it all on repeat.

Metro Verlaine are the coolest band you’ll hear. They make music to get lost in, and to also find parts of yourself in. Sure you may not understand what they are singing about at times, but who cares?! The music and vocals are enough to keep you hooked for eternity.

VIVA METRO VERLAINE! JE T’AIME!