Concert Review: The Killers

“The Lads Are Back.”

Bright lights reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip beamed from the sold out O2 arena’s main stage. The Killers front man, Brandon Flowers, stepped out with his band mates and the 20,000 strong crowd went wild, hysteric screams filled the arena to welcome one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century.

The dazzling backdrop was nostalgic of Glastonbury’s pyramid stage which baptised the boys to legendary status back in 2007, a stage shared with the likes of the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. The support act Juanita Stein didn’t particularly exceed expectations but eager fans lapped it up as they anticipated the stars of the night.

The first track ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ and title of their 5th studio album which came out in September turned the viewers suspense into delight. Flowers had the entire arena hooked on his every word, charming and flamboyant he embodied the rock and roll front man that saw his rise to fame. Chic from head to toe; Ted Sablay who stepped in from Dave Keuning as lead guitarist on this tour seamlessly soloed over polished visuals. The band were on top form, not falling into the pretentious trap of only playing new material, they bellowed out nostalgic songs ‘Somebody told me’ and ‘Spaceman’ Intertwined with new material ‘The Man’ and ‘Life to Come’ seats were left empty as the crowd stood in apprehension for the next number.

Three female backing vocalists, each adorned in sequined floor length dresses captivated the left of the stage. A low intergalactic bass line absorbed the silence, a few teaser symph notes, and Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr aptly placed at the top of a glistening staircase kicked off a drum beat that reverberated through the arena. Blue strobe lights met the electric guitar, smoke machines filled the stage; another classic ‘Smile like you mean it’ bought the term hysteria to a whole new level.

Energy went from high to higher ‘Mr. Brightside’ an anthem performed at every Killer’s gig saw Flowers return to stage in a head-to-toe gold sparkled suit oozing Vegas, baby. Entire generations of families, standing in seats not only for the encore but for the majority of the concert; The Killers rocked London like it was their home town.

Review by: Nici Ridge

Concert Review: Nina Nesbitt

The Garage venue in London was full of Nina Nesbitt’s fans on the 20th November. I found a place to stand among the crowd and managed to catch the last couple of songs from support act Goody Grace. His song ‘Pretend’ began with acoustic guitar finger picking and the opening lyrics ‘f*** you’ which juxtaposed the delightful intro. The song’s lyrics were clever and insightful, accompanied by the acoustic guitar; it was a very good first impression of Goody. For the final song of his set he played ‘Two Shots’ which had a completely different vibe to ‘Pretend’; evident of Goody’s diversity. To the steady beat he had the crowd swaying with two fingers in the air as he sung the lyrics ‘I just took two shots’ hyping up the audience for Nina’s set.

A stage adorned with lotus flowers, the fans and hipsters out in their masses, The Garage was ready for Nina Nesbitt. She started with one of her recent releases ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ before saying she was going to throw it back to 2012. All the fans knew what was coming, if the room wasn’t already exciting, the tension just built. We weren’t disappointed. Picking up her guitar she strummed the riffs of her first release, beloved by her fans ‘Apple Tree.’ I first heard this song when it was released, and I was 14, 5 years on I was singing the lyrics and dancing along with the rest of the audience, loving it. She then cleverly transitioned ‘Apple Tree’ into ‘Stay Out’ which calls out people on a night out ‘stay out and see through my eyes’ her clever lyrics exposing fake people ‘they think they’re from the sixties, but they were born in 1991’.

I always appreciate a bit of chat and banter from the performer, Nina got the audience to sing along (although I’m quite sure they would have without invitation), and admitted her new album, which is out early next year, is yet unnamed and has the working title NN2. By the end of the night fans were cheering ‘NN2!’, perhaps the name will stick? She played a few new songs from the album too, my favourite of which was ‘Colder.’ This song captivated the audience. Where we had been swaying and singing along Nina now held the audience on her every word with the beautiful melody and lyrics of her new song.

Her gig was diverse. She moved from old songs to recent releases and even to new songs. Many of her lyrics are, and she admitted it, about relationships, many about heartbreak or moving on. This had the potential to bring down the mood but each of her songs take a different view point and this diversity kept it upbeat. About one of her more upbeat songs ‘Chewing Gum’, she said she wrote it when she was single ‘which was fun.’ To contrast she played ‘Ontario’, written from inspiration from a letter she received from a fan and instantly wrote the song. It’s about when you start liking someone and then find out they already have someone she explained.

She was so involved in creating the music on stage, swapping instruments each song, even mid-way through jumping from a drum pad to piano. It seemed like she really enjoyed herself on stage and the audience loved it.


GIG REVIEW: Walking On Cars @ KOKO, 18/03/16

The day after St Patrick’s Day seemed an apt opportunity to partake in some Irish alternative rock courtesy of up-and-coming quintet Walking on Cars at the beautiful KOKO venue in Camden.

Gigs such as this one always promise a great opportunity to view a band up close and let you embrace the sound in a room where the artist is literally metres away. After the talented support act John Joseph Brill – a man with magnificent hair and a voice to match, delivering a brave solo performance – the anticipation for the headliner was building as the venue packed out. This was a sell-out event, and I was soon about to learn why. Rumour had it that Walking on Cars comprised of five friendly and down-to-earth people. I’d certainly only heard praise for their music and, having played a few tracks on my radio show in the past, I was looking forward to their live performance.

The set was full of enthusiasm and energy; you could see they really enjoyed playing for the crowd. As they took us through the tracks of their debut album Everything This Way it was clear that this gig would not disappoint. As far as performance goes, it was spot on. Evidently great musicians, the band had a full sound and  with impressive lighting to match, there was much to enjoy. Although it was a young crowd, it was great to see some older fans really loving the experience and proving that Walking on Cars create music that isn’t restricted to a certain age group. The band excelled at audience interaction, receiving a great response from everyone in the form of clapping along or joining in with parts of the chorus. There was something rather beautiful about the moment when the whole room was singing “hallelujah”, as part of their track “Two Stones”.

Of course, there was no doubt that the crowd would want an encore, and Walking on Cars didn’t let us down there either. Patrick gave a superb solo performance on keyboard, which was followed by a couple of extra songs from the whole band, ending with the addictive track “Speeding Cars” – the latest single to be given an impressive video. Overall, I was completely won over by this band, the show and the venue. I definitely recommend that you check out their new album Everything This Way and certainly consider seeing them live! Watch this space – I’m expecting good things to come from this group.

Review by Laura Webber

GIG REVIEW: Disclosure @ Alexandra Palace, 02/12/15

Disclosure played to a massive capacity crowd at London’s Alexandra Palace, one that included my boyfriend and I. After not so hot warm-up act Eats Everything, the Surrey-born sibling duo took to the stage on spaceship-like platforms. They opened with two of their bigger songs from first-album Settle, and safe to say it got the crowd going crazy. “White Noise” and “F for You” are also two of my favourites so I was glad I got to see them live. They played quite a few songs from Settle, as well as some of the new stuff, just enough to appease old and new fans. I would have really enjoyed hearing “Help Me Lose My Mind” as in that setting it would been mind-blowing; sadly, it didn’t get a play.

The biggest highlight for me, however, was the guests. Disclosure are pretty renowned for featuring amazing artists on their songs and we got a snapshot of that at the gig. First to take to the stage was Eliza Doolittle whose voice was completely faultless. Throughout the night we were spoilt for choice with Kwabs who did a soulful rendition of “Willing and Able”, the fierce Lion Babe and Brendan Reilley. I think the fact that this show was in London meant we got a truly special line-up.

It’s clear that thes pair are seriously talented as they swapped from instruments, to electronics, to taking the lead on vocals. With such good voices, it is surprising that they choose to feature so many other artists, but I think it works really well to create different sounds. Although they weren’t the chattiest stage performers and their lines of “London is the best city and the best crowds” etc. were a little cliché, they seemed like they were humble about their talents. I also loved how much and how crazily they danced on their tiny platforms.

The graphics and lightning for the event were absolutely top notch. The light show was amazing, and despite some weird Aurora-style projections at the start, the graphics they used added another layer of atmosphere to their performance. My only really complaint about the gig was the middle section, which suddenly become a drum and bass breakdown. It was the kind of music that you can’t figure out how to dance to and the crowd seemed to lose their vibe. Once that was over though, the last song and encore were fab. Obviously, they finished with hit single “Latch” and it was absolutely phenomenal.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend seeing them live. The live performance warmed me to their new album even more and as a show it was really fun.

[Review by Laura Shipp]

GIG REVIEW: Hot Chip @ Brixton Academy, 23/10/2015

My first time in Brixton Academy, I could not have been more impressed. The sheer size of the place was the first noticeable feature, but as the place began to fill up and the lights dimmed I finally got the chance to see what so many of my friends had described as the ‘indoor/outdoor venue’. The design of the stage as if it was the front face of a castle, complete with turrets and balconies suddenly stood out against the pitch black roof, causing the illusion of being outside in the night sky.

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Live Review: DUMB at The Old Blue Last, 11/03/14

Another week, another gig in London Town. This time I was at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch for my hotly-tipped-for-2014 band DUMB.
Opening the bill was Birmingham’s Curb who showed their stuff in their melodic grunge which got a fair sway going in the crowd. I often feel that OBL crowds are particularly stringent when it comes to any movement so this was fair play to Curb! ‘So High’, a favourite of mine, showed how the band really are great live as guitars and vocals were tight. This band has loads of support in their hometown of Birmingham so hopefully London will be the next city to crack the Curb love!

Now, if you listen to my radio show, you’ll know that I’ve been recommending Dumb gigs for a good few months and last week I finally got to see them! The band opened with ‘In Our Mind’ followed by previous single ‘Retina’, which was enough to elicit some sort of recognition in the crowd and encourage some movement. I was do pleased to see the OBL so packed for this band – their performance just showed a passion for what DUMB are and what they want to be and, frankly, I reckon they will 100% make it!
Tracks I’ve never heard before such as ‘Dollar Babes’ really got me excited as to what DUMB’s album will be like, alongside recent single ‘Supersonic Love Toy’ which was probably the track which was the most recognised. By this point I was completely past caring that I was in London and in the midst of a (very) boring crowd – who can resist busting some moves to some cracking tunes?
The final track ‘Two Bottles’ rounded the set off nicely and left me eager to see the band again to investigate how they progress and which new tracks they’ll whip out. Double A-side ‘Supersonic Love Toy’ and ‘Two Bottles’ is out now on iTunes. Catch DUMB in Manchester on April 11th, in Liverpool on April 12th or in London on April 18th.

~Ceri-Ann Hughes

Check out DUMB’s single “Two Bottles” here:

Live Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Borderline, 24/02/14

When you go to a lot of gigs you know when it’s going to be good pretty much as soon as you walk in the room. For me, London is the home of all the best venues for live music – especially if you’re seeing small bands – and Catfish and the Bottlemen’s gig at The Borderline was no different.
As soon as I walked into the basement venue I could sense the eagerness of the crowd to rock out to what was probably the last chance to see this band in a small venue! The mix of people in the room just represented how this band has really had an effect on the musical lives of gig-goers. It was the first time seeing this band for me and, honestly, it was seriously a game changer! You could feel the passion of the band throughout the set in the vocals and in the guitar riffs and I don’t think I’ve been as blown away with a band before as I was with these lads.

Following a not-very-good support act (who I honestly can’t remember the name of), Catfish and the Bottlemen’s performance was well needed. It’s so easy to become absorbed in the passion of this band as frontman Van McCann joked down the microphone and gave exceptional vocals on well-known tracks such as ‘Pacifier’ and ‘Tyrants’, whilst also nailing new tracks such as ‘Kathleen’. And the guitar riffs? Don’t even get me started on how fab they were.
Having a hilarious frontman is just guaranteed to make this band even more huge in the coming months, and with the attention of radio 1, it’s simply inevitable. I’m so happy because they really deserve it! Upon a request for an older song, McCann shouted ‘you liked us when we were s***, top lad!’ down the microphone – I reckon he’s a bit of a top lad himself to be honest.
I’ve also never ever met a band so appreciative of my support for their music which just goes to show that hard work and perseverance can do wonders for a band. (I also quite enjoyed the hug, it was super cute!).

~Ceri-Ann Hughes

Listen to Catfish and the Bottlemen’s latest single “Kathleen” here: