Thursday, 14 July 2011

Preview>>Latitude Festival 2011

The British festival season continues this weekend, with Latitude Festival taking place in Henham Park from Friday until Sunday. Headlining the Suffolk festival, are The National, Paolo Nutini and Suede respectively, with further performances from the likes of Foals, Kele, Bright Eyes, Eels, Paloma Faith, My Morning Jacket, The Cribs and Seasick Steve.

Brooklyn Indie quintet The National, have garnered critical acclaim throughout their career, but have only recently broke the mainstream through last year’s album, “High Violet”, which saw them nominated for two BRIT awards, ‘Best International Breakthrough’ and ‘Best International Album,’ losing in both categories to Justin Bieber and Arcade Fire respectively. Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini is headlining his second festival of the summer, after also topping the bill at Rockness festival in June, in his native country’s Highlands. Re-formed Britpop band Suede close the festival on Sunday night, in their first headline performance in the UK, since 1997’s Reading Festival, and they are keen to play a host of classics.

Tickets for the event have sold out, with weather predictions saying it will be muddy, with “strong winds and showers”. The event will be broadcast live on Sky Arts 1 from 9pm on all three days.

Seen It>>Weezer at Brixton Academy - 06.07.2011

Playing only their second gig in the UK since 2005, Reading and Leeds in 2010 being the only other, LA nerd rockers Weezer delighted a packed out crowd at Brixton Academy, playing a host of tracks from their first two albums. This was essentially a "warm up" to their weekend festival shows at Oxegen, Sonisphere and T in The Park, respectively, but this is by no means a warm up. It's the perfect chance for Weezer to show why they've become one of the biggest cult bands and influential bands since their formation in 1992.

Given that they had been touring around their native USA, playing both 'Weezer (Blue)' and 'Pinkerton' in full, a lot was expected of Weezer to deliver something similar. Opening track 'Undone - The Sweater Song', set the template for the night, as the crowd were in raptures and signing along to every word.

This was a night for the more hardcore Weezer fan, with Pinkerton tracks 'El Scorcho', 'Pink Triangle' and 'Tired of Sex' drawing louder cheers than perennial crowd-favourite, 'Buddy Holly.' Non-Blue or Pinkerton tracks such as 'Island In The Sun', which included front man Rivers Cuomo's improvised soliloquy to the crowd, 'Hash Pipe' and 'Pork and Beans,' also prove popular amongst the crowd. But the crowd went wild whenever a Blue track was unleashed, including 'No One Else', 'My Name is Jonas', 'The World Has Turned and Left Me Here' and 'Say it Ain't So.'

They even had time to throw in a couple of covers, most notably their ironic take on Wheatus' 'Teenage Dirtbag' (OK, own up, how many of you thought Weezer sang this?!) and Radiohead's 'OK Computer' classic 'Paranoid Android.'

A fan wearing a Weezer snuggie is allowed onstage for the encore and his singing and air guitar, during 'Buddy Holly', sums up the genial, party atmosphere inside the venue. A set like this makes it hard to pick out a highlight, as there were so many.

The band delivered a best-of Blue/Pinkerton set, with the crowd leaving in raptures and grins across their faces. This, pretty much, comes close to the perfect gig.

Undone – The Sweater Song
My Name Is Jonas
El Scorcho
Pink Triangle
Island in the Sun
Teenage Dirtbag
The Good Life
The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
Say it Ain’t So
Tired of Sex
You Gave Your Love to Me Softly
Pork and Beans
Across The Sea
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
Only In Dreams
Paranoid Android

Hash Pipe
Buddy Holly

Monday, 11 July 2011

Seen It>> Hurricane Festival - Schessel, Germany 17.06.2011-19.06.2011


17.40-18.20//Irie Revoltes//German Hip-Hop/Punk ensemble from Heidelberg. They entertained the crowd on Friday afternoon with their songs comprising topics such as racism, prejudice, homophobia and sexism.
18.25-19.00//Kaizers Orchestra//Norwegian band hailing from Stavanger, the alternative rock band are similar to compatriots, Kvelertak, who were also on the bill, in singing in their native language.
19.40-20.20//Glasvegas//The Scottish quartet seemed to bring the rain and miserable weather with them to Germany, but it didn't stop James Allan and co from belting out their popular tunes, such as "Geraldine" and set-closer "Daddy's Gone".
21.10-22.00//Jimmy Eat World//The alternative rock quartet from Arizona were eagerly awaited by the young audience on the Blue Stage. They bundled their way through past hits and it seemed a rather tame spectacle, until the ending on popular hits "Bleed American", "The Middle" and "Sweetness" back to back.
23.25-01.00//Arcade Fire//The Montreal eight-piece have become a worldwide phenomenon ever since their headline set at Reading and Leeds in 2010, and they played to an eagerly-awaited and excited crowd at Hurricane. The band had opened their set with clips from their new film, "Scenes from the Suburbs" and they played several songs from the album which bored that title, "The Suburbs". However, unsurprisingly their most popular tracks came for their debut album, "Funeral", including the mash-up of "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and "Rebellion (Lies)", "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" and the encore crowd-favourite "Wake Up".
00.45-02.00//The Chemical Brothers//The duo entertained the cold crowd on the Blue Stage with their remixes and instrumentals. However, it wasn't until they unleashed monster hits such as "Block Rockin' Beats" and "Galvanize" that the crowd really got going.
01.00-02.00/Sum 41//The Canadian four-piece are still proving their popularity, some 10 years since the release of "All Killer, No Filler", that they packed the Red Stage, forcing many revelers to have to stand outside and watch on the TV screen. They played a back catalogue of their biggest hits, including "Still Waiting", "We're All To Blame", "Motivation", "In Too Deep" and, of course, teenage anthem "Fat Lip", getting the mosh pit into a frenzy.

12.00-13.30//Pulled Apart By Horses/Leeds rockers PABH managed to awaken the entire campsite with their relentless and roaring riffs and usual mad stage antics. The breakfast mosh pit was into full gear with a host of tracks for their S/T Debut. They even asked for the rain to "fuck off" as they were on "holiday" at Hurricane.
14.45-15.20//Warpaint//All-girl band Warpaint managed to maintain their psychedelic hypnotic-riffs even though they were playing to open air. The LA quartet delivered crowd-pleasing renditions of 'Warpaint', 'Elephants' and 'Undertow' from debut album "The Fool".
17.30-18.20//Friendly Fires//The St Albans dance-punk trio livened up the early evening crowd in the sunshine, playing tracks from their debut album and highly-anticipated follow-up, "Pala".
19.30-20.30//Gogol Bordello//The gypsie-punks were lively as ever on the Green Stage, with the crowd moshing at every opportunity. Always one of the highlights of any festival they play and they didn't disappoint at Hurricane either.
23.00-00.30//Incubus//The alternative rock quartet from California were returning with a new album in tow, "If not now, When?" and their headline set treated the crowd to new singles such as "Adolescents", plus classics "Anna Molly", "Drive" and "Wish You Were Here."
01.00-02.00//Bright Eyes//Conor Oberst has signalled that the end is nigh for Bright Eyes and rather fittingly, he entered the stage dressed as the Grim Reaper. He seemed to spend more time yapping away, including about his “home girls” Warpaint, than he did play hits. That said, it was an enjoyable experience and should the Bright Eyes project end soon, it would be a big loss.

13.30-14.10//Blood Red Shoes//The Brighton duo seemed to bring the miserable weather with them, as they played host to a drenched crowd in the pouring rain. That didn't deter the rowdy crowd, as they chanted back the lyrics to hits including, "I Wish I was Someone Better", "Light It Up" and "It's Getting Boring by the Sea".
17.15-18.00//Flogging Molly//The Irish-American Celtic-Punk rockers entertained the crowd in the rain, with their collection of hits, including "Float" and "Drunken Lullabies". Irish jigging in the rain never sounded so fun!
18.45-19.55//The Hives//The Swedish garage rockers were up to their usual eccentric ways, belting out tune after tune, including "Main Offender", "Walk Idiot Walk" and "Hate to Say I Told You So." Front man Howlin' Pelle Almqvist had asked where his "25,000 screaming Germans were" and believed that God's intervention had stopped the rain, as "God loves The Hives," proving they've still got arrogance in bundles.
20.15-21.30//Arctic Monkeys//Sheffield's finest played a host of new tracks from album, "Suck it and See", alongside the classics from the first two albums. They were joined on stage by their mate and fellow Sunday performer, Miles Kane, to end their set on "505". They lacked their usual crowd chemistry that they regularly show in the UK, but it was a no nonsense show.
22.00-00.00//Foo Fighters//Headliners and festival closers, Foo Fighters, had a two-hour set packed of classics and new tracks from the album, "Wasting Light". Dave Grohl and co belted their way through an army of tracks, including "The Pretender", "Monkey Wrench", "Learn to Fly" and finisher "Everlong." Their set surely added to their reputation as currently the "World's biggest band".

Seen It>>Arctic Monkeys - Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield 10.06.2011

The quartet returned home to deliver tracks from their eagerly-awaited fourth album, "Suck It and See" and play to some long-lost live favourites. The Monkeys played to a packed 10,000 strong tent, borrowed from the near by Leeds festival site, with fans travelling from all over.

Their intro was a quick and no-nonsense start to proceedings, with "A View from the Afternoon", quickly followed by "Brianstorm." They mostly played homage to their first two albums, including the Yorkshire-clad 2Still Take You Home", about nights out on their home turf. The hometown show, perhaps, was always a best place to debut tracks from their new album, with the crowd singing along with every word, despite the fact that their album had been out for barely a week. "Don't Sit Down, 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair", "Library Pictures", "Brick by Brick, "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" and "She's Thunderstorms" being the new tracks.

Though the big moment of the show, was the live return of fan favourite, "Mardy Bum", played to Alex Turner's sole guitar and the bellowing crowd. "You've always been better than me at singing this", Turner revealed looking emotional and struck for words. The band are later joined on stage by support act, Miles Kane, for anthem "505", before ending on "A Certain Romance", with Turner forgetting the words only for the crowd to support.

They may not have gone for the same stage show they had on recent tours, but all Arctic Monkeys needed was a hometown show and a return of live favourites, to once again regain their tag as "Britain's most loved band."

A View from the Afternoon
This House is a Circus
Still Take You Home
Don't Sit Down, 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
Library Pictures
Teddy Picker
Crying Lightning
Brick by Brick
The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
Mardy Bum
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
She's Thunderstorms
Pretty Visitors
If You Were There, Beware
Do Me A Favour
That's Where You're Wrong
When The Sun Goes Down
Fluorescent Adolescent
A Certain Romance